YOUR VOTE WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE
In a matter of days we will be going to the polls to make selections that will affect our outdoor lifestyle for years to come. As a non-profit charitable organization, we are prohibited from endorsing political candidates but we can endorse policies that reflect our values and promote our way of life.
It is said so often that it tends to lose its impact, but this is the most important election that we have faced in our lifetimes. This is true for not only the items I will list as vitally important to outdoorsmen and women but for our country in general, protecting our historical values and norms that we have handed down from generation to generation.
The contrast between the Presidential candidates could not be greater when it comes to our hunting and fishing rights. The Obama/Biden administration seized over 554 million acres of public land and water, abusing its power by using The Antiquities Act of 1906 as justification for their land grab. This action took control of these properties away from their individual state wildlife agencies and gave it to the federal government, preventing the land and waters from being used by hunters and anglers.
President Donald J. Trump, on the other hand, has recently rolled back some of the Obama/Biden seizures and to date has opened up more than four million acres of public land and water for hunting and fishing opportunities. In addition to this gift to sportsmen and women, President Trump has signed the Great American Outdoors Act, considered to be one of the most significant pieces of conservation legislation to ever be signed into law. This act provides 20 billion dollars in funding over the next 10 years for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and for maintenance on buildings, access roads and trails. In other words, this act will help to provide public access to these hunting and fishing opportunities.
Another issue that cannot be ignored is freedom from tyranny as it relates to our inalienable right to keep and bear arms. The second amendment is hallowed ground to those of us in the outdoor world. Although most of us have guns that we hunt with, the Second Amendment has nothing to do with the right to hunt. It does however, have everything to do with the basic right to self-defense, the defense of one’s family and property, and the ability to protect ourselves from tyranny.
The Biden/Harris ticket has repeatedly acknowledged their intentions to defeat the NRA; implement mandatory buyback programs; mandate punitive taxation on firearms and ammunition; limit the number of guns that can be purchased; limit certain individuals from exercising their second amendment rights; limit the number of bullets in a magazine; eliminate gun sales between private individuals; eliminate the sale of modern semi-automatic rifles just because of the way they look, and also eliminate the most common firearm for self-defense - the 9mm pistol. In addition to this anti Second Amendment wish list, both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have said that they believe in the confiscation of “assault weapons” without even knowing what an assault weapon is. Joe Biden also said that he wanted to make Robert Francis (Beto) O’Rourke his gun czar after O’Rourke made his infamous statement, “Hell yes, we’re coming for your AR-15, your AK-47.”
In stark contrast, President Donald J. Trump has been a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment. President Trump has appointed a record-setting number of pro Second Amendment judges to the bench; protected our right to self-defense by deeming gun stores essential businesses during the COVID lockdowns; supports a national right to carry law; opposes government bans on commonly owned firearms, magazines and ammunition, and opposes gun free zones. The Trump/Pence ticket is the polar opposite of the Biden/Harris ticket when it comes to gun rights and our Second Amendment.
It is not a stretch to remind all of you that if we allow politicians to get their toe in the door on gun legislation, there is no stopping them when it comes to our other rights - especially our Bowhunting rights. If they are able to convince enough people that our Second Amendment rights can be taken away then they can certainly say that our hunting rights are also expendable.
Finally, I think it is important to point out that one candidate has sons that are avid Bowhunters and the other has a Hunter in name only. This is important because a family that hunts can relate to the needs of other hunters because they live the life that we value so greatly and have a better understanding of other like-minded individuals.
As I said earlier, this is the most important election in our lifetimes. Please, make the effort to vote and please consider the consequences that we will face if we don’t all pull together to defeat those who wish to destroy our Second Amendment, limit our access to hunting and fishing opportunities, and fundamentally change our way of life.
Bryan J. Marcum