With just one day to go before the election, we asked our panel of industry experts whether either of the candidates provided them with any new insight into the issues of most importance to sportsmen during the recent debates and whether either Governor Romney or President Obama have said anything that may have influenced, or even changed, who they may wish to vote for. Here’s how several have responded:
Steve Sanetti, President and CEO, National Shooting Sports Foundation
To state the obvious, President Obama’s statement that he favors a reinstatement of the failed so-called “assault weapons ban,” erroneously referring to today’s modern sporting rifles as “weapons of war,” will not improve his standing with many firearms owners.
He followed up with an oblique reference to “cheap handguns” being used on the streets of Chicago, stating that those firearms, not so-called “assault weapons,” were what criminals were using there. Does this telegraph a possible renewed attempt to further restrict those firearms as well? Only time, and the election, will tell.
Carrying any handgun is already illegal in Chicago.
Jim Martin, Conservation Director, Berkley Conservation Institute – Pure Fishing
Who Am I Voting for and Why?
I am a registered Republican and vote Republican most of the time. However, in 2012, I am voting for President Barak Obama for a second term as President.
I am not voting for anyone who would restrict my ability to own and use guns, or anyone who would gut conservation funding in the name of deficit reduction. I am confident that neither the President nor Governor Romney would restrict gun ownership or use. Even if they tried, Congress would not allow it. However, I am convinced that the Romney/Ryan budget will cause devastating damage to the conservation programs that I and most sportsmen and women support. I have seen the writing on the wall in each of the House Budgets, lead by Congressman Ryan and endorsed by Gov. Romney since HR-1.
Everyone knows that we have to resolve the deficit. I believe that Simpson-Bowles is a sensible approach. Cutting conservation programs and devastating conservation agencies disproportionately will be counterproductive to the 9.4 million jobs that conservation, outdoor recreation and historic preservation generate each year to support the economy of the United States. Selling off public lands is short sighted and is strongly opposed by sportsmen and women across America.
I have been pleased to work with Federal conservation policy leaders like Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsak, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and NOAA Fisheries Service Administrator Eric Schwaab. These leaders have kept their word and have been wise in finding the right compromises between honoring conservation programs and allowing sensible development.
I am not eager to return to the “ideology before reality” policies that we experienced in conservation under former President G. W. Bush. I don’t believe that making rich people richer is the right solution to the deficit. I see this conservation funding crisis as the most serious challenge to conservation since Republican President Theodore Roosevelt created our conservation framework 110 years ago. The next President will guide deficit reduction efforts, along with Congress and the future of conservation is at stake. I think President Obama’s approach is more balanced and sensible….and I think most sportsmen know that.
I am proud to be an American sportsman and I know 60 million sportsmen and women are thinking about their choices as they get ready to vote. The future of our conservation legacy is at stake.