If there was a message I could get to every NRA member and lawful gun owner in America, it would be this: The 2016 election is under way and the stakes couldn’t be higher, so we have to get involved and go to work now!
For most Americans, odd-numbered years are not election years. We get a rest from the barrage of political ads, the omnipresent campaign signs and the never-ending coverage of local and national races by the news media. But this year, we can’t wait to get moving on 2016.
Before we get to next year’s pivotal races, there are five states with elections this year. On Nov. 3, voters in Virginia and New Jersey are electing state legislators; Kentuckians are electing statewide officers, including a new governor; and Mississippi and Louisiana will be electing statewide officers and state legislators.
In Mississippi, Gov. Phil Bryant, a strong NRA ally, is up for re-election. In Louisiana and Kentucky, the race is on to replace term-limited governors, and in both cases we have pro-gun candidates ready to step in. Endorsements and NRA Political Victory Fund grades for these races are included in this magazine for members in these states. (Members in Louisiana received their endorsement lists separately in the mail.) I strongly encourage every gun owner in these states to take action to ensure that our allies win these key elections.
In addition, there will be a very important vote this year in Texas, where voters will decide whether the Lone Star State adds the right to hunt and fish to its state constitution. This is a vital action to protect our treasured hunting heritage from attacks by animal rights activists and environmental extremists.
As important as these elections are, we must also look ahead. We all know what’s at stake.
We’ve seen how much damage an anti-gun president can do. Even with our victories beating back anti-gun legislation in Congress, President Barack Obama has used his executive authority to strip Americans of their Second Amendment-protected rights. In previous issues, I’ve described abuses from Obama’s bureaucrats at the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Social Security Administration and other agencies.
Enough is enough. In 2016, we have to do everything in our power to elect a president who respects our fundamental freedoms. The good news is that there are many solid pro-gun candidates in the race. Gun owners should start to get informed now on the position each candidate holds on our right to keep and bear arms.
But as important as the race for the White House is, it’s also critical that we keep control of the U.S. Senate in pro-gun hands.
Right now, there’s a pro-gun majority in the Senate, and every member of the majority leadership is a solid, NRA-endorsed, pro-gun ally. But—and this is critically important—the electoral map is not in our favor. Our opponents have far fewer seats to protect than do we.
To bring this home, consider that they need only five additional seats to make Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) the majority leader of the U.S. Senate! That’s right, one of the biggest enemies of our freedom, one of the most entrenched anti-gun voices of the past several decades, could take control.
We simply cannot allow that to happen. That’s why, when I say that 2016 starts now, it’s because we cannot afford to wait until next fall to get involved. We can’t even wait until the primaries start. There is just too much at stake.
We must work together—starting now—to protect our freedoms, not just for ourselves, but for future generations. Your NRA will do its part and we trust that gun owners throughout America will answer the call to win back the White House, increase the pro-gun majorities in the U.S. Congress and elect pro-gun officials in the states. And I’m confident that, through your efforts, we will succeed.
ABOUT CHRIS W. COX
Chris W. Cox has served as the executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, the political and lobbying arm of the National Rifle Association, since 2002.
As NRA’s chief lobbyist and principal political strategist, Cox oversees nine NRA-ILA divisions – Federal Affairs, State & Local Affairs, Public Affairs, Research & Information, Grassroots, Hunting/Conservation/Wildlife, Office of Legislative Counsel, External Affairs (International) and Fiscal. He also serves as president of the NRA Freedom Action Foundation (NRA-FAF), which conducts non-partisan voter registration and citizen education, and chairman of NRA Country, which brings country music artists together with NRA members in support of our Second Amendment freedoms and hunting heritage.