By Samantha Hayes, in Washington, D.C.
May 16, 2008
He may not have been their first choice, but for the NRA, John McCain is the only Republican they've got. And today, McCain is looking for the group's support in Kentucky at their annual meeting.
It's been a rocky relationship between the two. The NRA didn't like McCain's campaign-finance reform act, saying it restricted free speech. McCain's support of mandatory background checks at gun shows doesn't earn him points either. In fact, the NRA assigns letter grades to the candidates and McCain is apparently just a little better than average, with a C+.
On the way to Louisville, McCain said,"I'm proud of my record of supporting the second amendment and I'm proud of my overall support from the NRA and gun owners, people who own guns and firearms in America." McCain is looking for votes from conservatives as well as independents and support from Southern states where hunting is an important part of the culture.
While the NRA has not endorsed a candidate, its fair to say they are not looking to the Democrats. NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre told The Associated Press that the organization will have to "agree to disagree" on some issues with McCain. "We're not foolish enough to ignore the vast areas of agreement in which John McCain has been a friend to gun owners."
In November, McCain needs gun owners to be a friend to him at the polls.