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Wednesday, July 7, 2010


For the record, the NRA-PVF has not yet made an endorsement in the Nevada U.S. Senate race.  In fact, there have been no announced endorsements for any U.S. Senate seat for the November general elections—period.


For several reasons, we generally do not announce ratings or endorsements until closer to the elections. There are still votes to be graded and other information to be evaluated prior to issuing an accurate grade as Election Day nears.


The NRA-PVF looks at the entirety of a candidate’s record.  We start with the candidate’s voting record (if any), along with answers to questionnaires, statements and floor speeches the candidate makes on Second Amendment issues, as well as any action the candidate may have taken as a committee member or leader.


Our endorsements are not given lightly, nor are they issued in every race.  An NRA-PVF endorsement is something that has to be earned.  As we do every election year, we wait until all the votes are taken and evaluate a candidate’s entire record.  Making a decision prematurely, before votes are taken, risks giving politicians a “free pass”—something we can’t and won’t allow.


It is important to note that the NRA is a single-issue organization. Our ratings and endorsements are based solely on a candidate’s support for, or opposition to, our Second Amendment rights. Other issues, as important as they may be to many people, do not and cannot play any role in those decisions.  NRA represents a broad coalition of American gun owners, who are bound together by their support for the right to keep and bear arms. 


For us to factor non-gun-related issues into our ratings would foolishly divide our unified base of support on the Second Amendment.  This policy has served NRA and gun owners well over the past three-plus decades, making us the nation’s pre-eminent pro-Second Amendment advocacy group. 


We fully understand that voters must take into account a variety of issues when deciding for whom to vote.  We respect that.  It is our responsibility, however, to provide voters with information solely on a candidate’s position on gun-related issues so that they may factor that consideration in addition to other issues.

Admittedly, Senator Reid’s record is not perfect; few politicians’ records are.   For a number of years (primarily in the 1990s) Sen. Reid had some problematic votes on our issue.  But in the last five years, he has dramatically improved his record on our issue, so the NRA-PVF would be irresponsible if it did not give due consideration to those recent votes and actions.  There is no doubt that, as Senate Majority Leader, Reid has supported efforts to protect Americans’ gun rights, both by voting FOR pro-gun measures AND preventing anti-gun legislation from reaching the Senate floor.


In 2004, Sen. Reid voted against efforts to reauthorize the Clinton “assault weapons” ban and early last year, flatly stated he would oppose any effort to reinstate an “assault weapons” ban if the Senate were to vote on it in the future.  In 2005, Sen. Reid was instrumental in Senate passage (and eventual enactment into law) of the “Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act” (PLCAA). That law shut down reckless lawsuits against gun manufacturers and dealers, which attempted to hold them liable for the misuse of firearms by criminals.  Sen. Reid also cosponsored the PLCAA in the previous Congress and voted against the Feinstein Amendment to ban so-called “assault weapons” and the Kennedy Amendment that would have banned most hunting ammunition.


Sen. Reid voted for legislation, which became law in 2006, to prohibit gun confiscation during states of emergency.  He also voted for legislation to allow commercial airline pilots to be armed in the cockpit to protect their passengers and crew. 


In the last two years, Sen. Reid voted for the Ensign Amendment to repeal the Washington D.C. gun ban and restore self-defense rights in our nation’s capital.  He cosponsored similar legislation -- S.1414 -- in the 108th Congress.  He also voted for an amendment to allow law-abiding citizens to carry firearms for self-defense in national parks and wildlife refuges.  This federal policy change took effect on February 22.  In addition, Sen. Reid voted last year for the Thune-Vitter Amendment to provide national reciprocity for state Right-to-Carry permits.  Sen. Reid also voted twice for the Wicker Amendment allowing Amtrak passengers to include firearms in their checked luggage.  In his capacity as Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid made votes on all of these amendments procedurally possible.  And these are but a few examples of Senator Reid’s support and leadership on Second Amendment issues. 


All of which leads to a very serious question for all NRA members and gun owners who oppose Sen. Reid to contemplate: who would take Reid’s place if he loses his race—and his critically important position as Senate Majority Leader?  Remember, the Senate Majority Leader is the gatekeeper who decides which legislation will be considered on the Senate floor.  If Sen. Reid loses, the next candidate for Majority Leader is very likely to be Chuck Schumer or Dick Durbin—two of the most anti-gun U.S. Senators in history! 


It is critical to the defense of the Second Amendment that we have pro-gun majorities in the U.S. Congress.  While no endorsement has yet been issued in this race, nor any other U.S. Senate race for the November general election, rest assured that we will make all of these announcements at the appropriate time and in light of our election policy. 


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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.