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8 Surprisingly Pro-Gun Democrats

8 Surprisingly Pro-Gun Democrats

Given the anti-gun positions of many within the Democratic elite, it's easy to forget that there are plenty of strongly pro-gun Democrats, men and women who actually hunt, shoot and defend those rights.

Indeed, the language of the 2012 Democratic Platform essentially says, "We support the Second Amendment, but …" while the Republican Platform offers a clear, uncompromising defense of gun rights.

However, while there are without question more pro-gun Republicans than Democrats, the contributions by Democrats to the pro-gun cause cannot be ignored. On issues that are voted upon along party lines, legislation is rarely passed without several politicians crossing the aisle. Without pro-gun Democrats, could concealed carry laws, castle doctrine, national park carry and other recent victories have swept the country?

And, by voting for Democrats who justify it, do we not enhance our credibility as pro-gun voters? Certainly, this is a strategy employed by the National Rifle Association. While NRA critics jab that the "R" stands for "Republican", rarely does one receive a list of NRA-endorsed candidates that doesn't include at least one Democrat, usually it's a few. By supporting pro-gun allies within both parties, the NRA and gun-rights voters earn their trust. It sends politicians the message that if they support us, we'll support them regardless of political affiliations.

Here are a few notable Democrats who take part in the shooting sports. Special thanks for help in compiling this list goes to our friends at the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, a non-profit organization that works with Congress, governors and state legislatures to protect and advance hunting, recreational shooting, fishing and trapping.

Sen. Jon Tester (MT)

Thumbs Up: Supports nationwide concealed-carry reciprocity; co-sponsored D.C. Personal Protection Act to repeal an assortment of draconian gun laws in the District of Columbia; voted yes on Department of State's International Aid bill to prohibit foreign entities (such as the United Nations) from regulating or taxing Americans' firearms; voted yes on allowing firearms in checked luggage on Amtrak trains.

Thumbs Down: Voted to confirm anti-gun Supreme Court Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.

NRA Rating: A

Rep. Mike Ross (AR)

Thumbs Up: Supports nationwide concealed-carry permit reciprocity; co-sponsored Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act to protect gun makers from reckless lawsuits; co-sponsored Firearms Interstate Commerce Reform Act to provide for legal sales of handguns and semi-automatic rifles across state lines; sponsored D.C. Personal Protection Act; voted yes on amendment to allow carrying of firearms in national parks.

NRA Rating: A+

Rep. Heath Shuler (NC)

Thumbs Up: Supports nationwide concealed-carry reciprocity; co-sponsored Firearms Interstate Commerce Reform Act; co-sponsored D.C. Personal Protection Act; voted yes on amendment to allow carrying of firearms in national parks.

Note: After three terms in office, Shuler is retiring after the 112th Congress.

NRA Rating: A

Rep. Dan Boren (OK)

Thumbs Up: Voted yes on D.C. Personal Protection Act; supports nationwide concealed-carry reciprocity; voted yes on Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act; co-sponsored Firearms Interstate Commerce Reform Act; supports Recreational Fishing & Hunting Heritage & Opportunities Act.

NRA Rating: A+

Rep. Ron Kind (WI)

Thumbs Up: Co-chair of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus; voted yes on Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act; supports nationwide concealed-carry reciprocity; co-sponsored Firearms Interstate Commerce Reform Act; co-sponsored D.C. Personal Protection Act.

Thumbs Down: Voted no on NICS Improvement Amendments Act (remember the three-day waiting period? Kind voted to keep it); supports the development and requirement of so-called 'smart gun ' technology.

NRA Rating: D

Rep. Ben Nelson (NE)

Thumbs Up: Voted to allow guns in checked luggage on Amtrak trains; supports nationwide concealed-carry reciprocity; voted yes on Firearms Confiscation Prohibition amendment to prohibit confiscation of guns during declared emergencies; voted yes on Department of State's International Aid bill; voted yes on Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act; co-sponsored D.C. Personal Protection Act; voted yes on amendment to allow carrying of firearms in national parks; voted against nomination of Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, specifically citing her position on the Second Amendment.

Thumbs Down: Supports the development and requirement of so-called 'smart gun ' technology; voted for nomination of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Note: Nelson is retiring after the 112th Congress.

NRA Rating: A+

Rep. Mike Thompson (CA)

Thumbs Up: Voted yes on Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act; voted yes on D.C. Personal Protection Act.

Thumbs Down: Voted no on NICS Improvement Amendments Act; supports reauthorization of 'assault weapons ' ban; does not support concealed carry.

NRA Rating: C+

Rep. Bennie Thompson (MS)

Thumbs Up: Voted no on bill to require background checks on private sales at gun shows.

Thumbs Down: Voted no on Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act; voted no on NICS Improvement Amendments Act; voted yes on 'assault weapons ' ban; voted no on D.C. Personal Protection Act; opposes concealed carry.

NRA Rating: F




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