The National Rifle Association is not a partisan organization. Its candidate rankings and endorsements are based not upon party affiliations but upon candidates’ records and statements concerning gun owners’ rights. The reason it may seem partisan is that so many Democrats nationwide have been so strongly in favor of gun control. The fact is that the NRA has endorsed and ranked highly many Democrats in its history.
This can be seen in the 2016 Kentucky state legislative races. According to the insert in the November 2016 issue of the NRA’s magazine America’s 1st Freedom, in 2016 the National Rifle Association gave an A rating to 57 Democrat candidates for the Kentucky state legislature, of whom they endorsed 43. By way of comparison, there were only three B, four C, five D, and two F rated Democrat candidates. (There were 14 Democrats whom the NRA rated with a question mark due to insufficient data.) On the Republican side, there were 85 A rated candidates (of whom they endorsed 52), four B, one C, one D, and zero F rated candidates. (There were 13 Republicans whom the NRA rated with a question mark due to insufficient data.) The Republican Party was overall better for gun owners, but not lopsidedly so. Gun owners enjoyed strong bipartisan support. In fact, much of Kentucky’s legislation that is friendly to gun owners was passed when Democrats controlled the state legislature.
Two years has shown modest improvement on the Republican side. According to the insert in the November 2018 issue of America’s 1st Freedom, there are now 90 Republican candidates for the Kentucky state legislature who have earned an A rating from the NRA (of whom they have endorsed 68). There are seven B, two C, two D and one F rated Republican candidates and 9 with a question mark. On the Democrat side, though, support for gun owners has plummeted. Compared to 57 A rated Democrat candidates in 2016, now there are only 28, of whom the NRA has endorsed 19. Grades B, C and D remain similar (with 4, 3, and 2 Democrat candidates respectively). The number of F rated Democrat candidates has skyrocketed from 2 to 21. The number of question mark Democrat candidates has also sharply risen from 14 to 52. How many of those 52 would be F rated if their true views were known? Given the current state of left-wing politics in the country today, I suspect quite a few would be.
The trajectory of many Kentucky Democrats on gun owner rights can be illustrated by the fact that in 2016 David Ramey was rated A by the NRA (based on his responses to a questionnaire), but now he is rated F. Kentucky Republicans have consistently been strong supporters of gun owners’ rights, but gun owners could take comfort in the fact that Democrat control in Frankfort was no threat. Sadly, the data suggests that this may no longer be the case.
Keith A. York is a Murray resident, chemist, Murray State alumnus, and political conservative independently sharing his views.
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