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Last month, on behalf of my organization, the American Hunters and Shooters Association (AHSA), I sent a letter to Senator Leahy endorsing the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor.  I maintained in the letter that "Some in the firearm community have leveled a number of charges against Judge Sotomayor that do not pass the truth test."

Unfortunately, that’s standard operating procedure for many in the entrenched pro-gun community.  Everything is a knee-jerk reaction that somehow morphs into all of our guns being taken away.  The bureaucrats in the old pro-gun lobby really need to grow up – and smarten up.  As I’ve said before, the rhetoric from the NRA leadership and others tarnishes all gun owners, not just their frustrated members.

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Let’s get something straight:  No one is going to take anyone’s guns away.  There is no gun ban coming from the Obama administration.  

The rhetoric about gun bans is ridiculous.  Most of us know the NRA leadership and others use the specter of gun bans to raise money. But, it’s divisive, and damaging for all law-abiding gun owners.  In too many new reports of late, we’ve seen the prospect of gun ban included as a rational for deranged people who have wreaked havoc.

I don’t want all gun owners tarred by the craziness of a few.

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Last night, on 60 Minutes, Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, was asked about reinstating the federal assault weapons ban:

"There was an assault weapons ban in the United States for ten years. It expired in 2004. Would you consider asking Congress to reinstate that?" Cooper asked Napolitano.

"I haven't thought that far," she replied. "What I have worked on is working with customs, with ATF and saying "what do we need to do by way of identifying who is putting these unlawful gun into the hands of the traffickers who are using them to murder people. And what do we need to do to stop it."

She’s right by focusing attention on the unlawful guns.  This is about crime and criminal activity.  That is where the Obama administration should focus its resources.

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I just got back from spending the holidays with my family out on the Eastern Shore of Maryland where I got in some great time with the grandkids. I was able to sneak out to the duck blind early in the mornings and do a little shooting.  That always gives me some time to think.  It's been a couple years since we started the American Hunters and Shooters Association (AHSA).  And, I have to admit, it's exceeded my expectations especially as I look back at the last year and what we accomplished.  While I was out there I realized it has been just over a year since I wrote my first diary on DailyKos, on the subject of how global warming was impacting hunting.  This community has been very supportive of our work.   So many of you share both my commitment to gun rights and my love for the environment.

It’s been a crazy year, especially because of the NRA leadership’s vow to spend $40 million to scare voters into defeating Obama and his so-called "gun-grabbing" cohorts.

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As a former professional football player, I always knew winning was much more fun.  And, Tuesday’s election result was the most fun I’ve had in awhile.

First, I owe a big thanks to Plutonium Page for the post, The Left to Bear Arms, about guns and Democrats on Sunday.  That post was spot on.

I don’t like to sit on the sidelines or in the stands.  I always want to be in the game.  And, this year, because the Obama campaign took outreach to gun owners and sportsmen seriously, we had to play in this game.  The Obama campaign knew it had to work hard to get gun owners to listen and they were prepared to do the work.  We had organized our team at the American Hunters and Shooters Association (AHSA) and we were ready when they called. I really want to congratulate my fellow members of "Sportsmen for Obama."  The campaign not only supported us, but they listened, which was very important.

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USAToday reported that Dan Cooper, founder and owner of Cooper Firearms, lost his job.  The reason: He's voting for Obama:

Montana gunsmith Dan Cooper has been ousted as chief executive of the rifle company that bears his name after pressure from gun owners who are angry that he is supporting Democrat Barack Obama.  

Today, on behalf of the American Hunters and Shooters Association (AHSA), I condemned the actions by the NRA and its cronies forcing Dan Cooper out.

The gun lobby's attempt to destroy a good man and small business owner, a loyal member of the gun fraternity, again reveals the desperate Joe McCarthy-like politics of fear that the NRA leadership and others put first.  They are trying to scare America's hunters and shooters into voting against Barack Obama -- but we have one thing to say: vote hope and not fear.

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I just back from my third trip to Ohio where I spent the last couple days campaigning for Barack Obama. Something is happening out there -- this trip was tremendous -- you can feel the momentum growing.

With each campaign trip I do, I’ve found that gun owners are more receptive to Obama and his message of change. People are clamoring for it. I can’t tell you how impressed I am with the Obama operation in Ohio and the way this campaign is changing the way gun owners are looking at him and his party.  

Ohio is full of hunters--and I’ve been talking to a lot of them.  Since Tuesday, I’ve been doing three or four stops each day across the state.  I was very pleased to be working side-by-side with members of several unions, including the United Mine Workers, Building Trades. Plumbers and Pipefitters, the Teamsters and Sheetmetal workers.  There are a lot of gun owners in their membership who are getting the right message about Obama.  And, they are working hard for him.

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I’m back home for a day before I head back out on the road.  Wanted to get up a post about my trip to Minnesota.  I was heading there to speak to hunters about Obama, mainly because Todd Palin was going to be there doing the same thing for his side.

On my way to Minnesota, who did I see at the Detroit airport?  Todd Palin.  Did I go talk introduce myself to him?  You betcha.  I want him to know that his side doesn’t have the exclusive on talking to gun owners this year.

Most of the articles about Todd mentioned the gun owners who support Obama, too.  That’s exactly what we wanted.

The reaction in Northern Minnesota was very positive.

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I was in Florida over the weekend campaigning for Obama. I'm impressed with the way the Obama campaign will not cede any vote to McCain. This is the first time any Democratic presidential campaign has so aggressively fought for gun owners. I think it's working – and it's throwing the GOP-controlled NRA for a loop.

I like this headline from the Daytona Beach News-Journal: "Obama, McCain lining up gun groups"

Obama is actually lining up gun voters, which is most important. Wherever I go, I'm finding gun owners are open to Obama. This year, we're not being duped by the NRA's aggressively pro-GOP spin. That loyalty to the Republicans hasn't gotten gun owners much. Our environment is in danger and the economy in crisis. The NRA's leaders don't look beyond their own narrow self-interests.

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I'm just back from doing eight campaign stops in Ohiofor Obama over the past couple days.  I want to get out my thoughts on the decision by the NRA to officially endorse John McCain.  They're playing pure partisan politics with this decision.  Based on the NRA's own standards, McCain doesn't deserve the endorsement.

But, today, the National Rifle Association demonstrated once again that it is a partisan political entity, not a organization committed to the best interests of gun owners.

In 2001, the NRA’s magazine, America’s First Freedom (no link), said that John McCain was "one of the premier flag carriers for the enemies of the Second Amendment."  That came after McCain introduced federal legislation on gun show background checks, which came after McCain’s appearances in television ads support referenda in Colorado and Oregon to require backgrounds checks at gun shows.  

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I’m in Ohio again--on the campaign trail for Obama.  The response I’ve been getting from gun owning Democrats is very positive.  It’s been important to let them know Obama is on their side and values their votes – and I’m more than happy to be that messenger.

Our Sportsmen for Obama video already has 16,000 views.  And, the Obama campaign also launched a new t.v. ad with an NRA life-member talking about his support for the Democratic ticket.  Just more proof that the Obama campaign gets it and isn’t ceding any vote to the NRA leadership.   For years, those NRA honchos have conveyed the idea that gun owners are a monolithic vote, which they control.  That’s not true--this  year, we’re proving it.

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The Obama campaign released a video on gun issues.  I think it's very good (and not just because I'm in it.)  

The Obama campaign is fighting back hard against the NRA's campaign of lies and trying to get the message out to gun owners that Obama is on their side.  I did a radio ad, which has been running in battleground states.  And, I've been out on the campaign trail in Ohio and Colorado talking to a lot of gun owners who are Democrats.  There are a lot of us and, this year, the Democratic ticket is talking to us about issues that matter to us, like conservation, public access -- and the economy.  Because those issues affect us, too.

I'm heading out again next week to campaign for Obama.  The video is after the jump.

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