Uncategorized — 01 October 2012

Exercise Influence and Responsibility

As a shooting facility, you are an attraction to a lot of people. Those people, despite all of their differences, share one common interest: the desire to exercise their Second Amendment right. As a result, you can presume that Second Amendment issues are likely one of their considerations during an election year.

Whether you are a small gun club or a large commercial operation, you are a voice to the sportsmen and women who use your facility. This year, and at this time of year especially, your voice should be delivering an important message: Become educated about the candidates and issues and, then, vote intelligently.

Since the scent of a political race first hit the air, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry–and the publisher of this magazine–has been delivering its message: Register to vote, become educated on the candidates, encourage friends, families and other acquaintances to do the same and then vote.

To help people become more acquainted with the candidates, the issues and the candidates’ stand on those issues, NSSF set up a special website–www.nssf.org/gunvote. What a resource it is!

Here web visitors can get linked to registering to vote, to finding their polling place and getting connected to a variety of information that can help them decide for whom they wish to vote. They will find links to elections in their area and to published articles on the presidential race, as well as on races in the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate and for state governorships.

nssf.org/gunvoteThey’ll see the results of respected polls, and they can click on entries in the NSSF blog. News items related to election choices are also available here.

This is a website that you must check out, if you haven’t, and be sure to encourage club members and customers to do the same.

Not to encourage these people to commit to voting and become educated on the candidates and the issues before they cast their ballot is a wasted opportunity and an unfulfilled responsibility on your part. An ad says that a mind is too important to waste. So is a vote!

The participation level of eligible voters who actually cast a ballot is, sadly, routinely low. About 131 million Americans voted in the 2008 presidential election, marking the highest percentage turnout of eligible voters since the 1968 national election.

The numbers and records may sound impressive, but it also means that only some 64 percent of eligible voters exercised their right. Almost 75 million eligible citizens did not bother to vote. However, on the bright side, hunters, shooters, anglers and other sportsmen do vote in greater numbers than the general voting-eligible population.  Nearly one-third of all voters are sportsmen, and 80 percent of them are likely to vote in a presidential election year.  Furthermore, sportsmen make up about 20 percent of the population in key “swing states,” such as Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania. Sportsmen are one of the most influential voting blocks in the country. The sportsmen’s vote counts!

Theodore Roosevelt made an insightful comment along the lines of a citizen doing all he or she could to become a responsible voter: “A vote is like a rifle; its usefulness depends upon the character of the user.”

The famous British statesman Winston Churchill once said, hopefully facetiously, “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”

NSSF has taken on the challenge to help eligible voters become marksmen, that is develop character by registering, becoming educated and casting their vote intelligently and, thus, raising them well above the level of Churchill’s “average voter.”

NSSF has accepted the challenge. We hope you will, too.

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