Mixing Guns With Politics: Should Your Candidate Have Experience With Firearms?

We all have a vetting process when it comes to choosing a candidate for a political office. 

Some of us do exhaustive research on the candidate’s political (voting) history, personal history, academic history, etc. before making a decision, some of us select a candidate based off of a political ideology we believe in (is he/she a conservative? a liberal? etc.) while others rely on simpler, foolproof systems like eeny, meeny, miny, moe (ashamedly, the first time I voted I relied heavily on the “EMMM” vetting system). 

Since this is Guns.com, not surprisingly the issues of guns, gun control, and gun ownership is at the center of our political prism, meaning we see candidates in relation to their opinions and thoughts on those aforementioned issues.

However, one question that has continually emerged in our dialogue about vetting candidates for office is: should one look beyond what a candidate says about firearms and, instead (or in addition to) examine his/her practical experience shooting firearms?  As the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words. 

For example, many of us are aware of what Texas Gov. Rick Perry says about “gun control”:

But does it also help us to know that he practices what he preaches:

Or take for instance this video New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, where she passes her CCW test with a perfect score:

Are we more inclined to believe what she says about gun-related issues based off her range experience?  Given the following, her competent shooting stance, the fact that she has both hands on her weapon, her controlled firing, and her accuracy, is it clear that she has an affinity, if not at least a respect, for shooting?  And if she does have an affinity for shooting, what does this mean politically?  For example, does that mean she’s less likely to capitulate to political pressure on issues of gun control? 

What is also interesting in all of this is those who look the part, and who talk the talk, but seemingly don’t have the experience or credentials they tout:

Admittedly this is an older video, and since then former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has made a concerted effort to become a better shooter:

It appears she still may have some work to do.   Nevertheless she’s out there shooting. 

As the 2012 election approaches and as candidates up their rhetoric to curry favor with all sorts of different constituents and communities, perhaps the gun community should ask them not only their thoughts and opinions on gun-related issues, but questions that directly identify their shooting experience (or lack thereof). 

Instead of simply asking, “what do you think about open-carry bans”?  We should also be asking them, “when was the last time you were at the range?”  One suspects that most “pro-gun” politicians would be prepared for the former question and surprised by the latter.  In any event, it’d be interesting to hear their answers.