By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Last week thousands of Alabama National Rifleman’s Association members received their ‘American Rifleman’, ‘American Hunter’, and ‘America’s First Freedom’ magazines in their mailbox. In addition to their normal articles about guns and hunting the election edition of the magazines included all the NRA Institute for Legislative Affair’s ratings of the Alabama Congressional candidates. All six of Alabama’s Republican congressional incumbents were given ”A” ratings and were endorsed by the NRA-ILA. The NRA-ILA rated four of the Alabama Democratic party challengers as a “?” because they refused to answer the NRA-ILA questionnaires they were sent. The NRA-ILA is the political arm of the NRA.
The Sixth Congressional District Democratic challenger from Leeds disputed the NRA’s version of events. Retired U.S Air Force Colonel Penny Huggins Bailey told ‘The Alabama Political Reporter,’ “I did not get a questionnaire…wish I had. But, I don’t think they would have changed their endorsement as they have supported Bachus for years.”
Colonel Bailey said that she supports the goals of the NRA, “My husband and I have been supporters of the NRA for years with memberships and attending fund raisers. We support the 2nd Amendment wholeheartedly, we have our own guns and ammo…as a matter of fact, the last 2 Christmas’ my husband gave me guns because I asked for them (my favorite is The Judge!). And, I have my own concealed carry license.”
Col Bailey said, “Unfortunately, as you know, this is politics…they’ll typically support the incumbent.” The NRA-iLA endorsed every Republican incumbent all of whom were awarded “A”-ratings by the agency. In the Seventh Congressional District the NRA gave a C-rating to Democratic incumbent Congresswoman Terri Sewell. Her former Marine Republican Challenger Don Chamberlain was rated AQ based solely on his questionnaire responses as he has no legislative record. Despite the higher rating the NRA chose not to endorse the Republican challenger in the Seventh Congressional District and elected not to give an endorsement.
On her website Col. Bailey said, “I agree with the US Constitution and the Second Amendment. In the military, we had to learn to use our weapons to save our own life and the lives of others. Personally, I like guns and one of our favorite family past-times is to go target shooting. We are responsible gun owners and have taught our children to be responsible, as well. However, there are too many people with too many guns that don’t know how or when to use them. That’s just part of the problem.“
Col. Bailey continued, ”I think any criminal who commits a violent crime using a gun should get a lengthy automatic incarceration. And, I think if you own a gun or if somebody in your family owns a gun, they need to be responsible and know how to use it for what it was made for. Gun owners should be responsible citizens. For the safety of Americans, I do not think criminals and mentally unstable people should be allowed to purchase guns.”
Col. Bailey wrote, “I totally and completely support the Second Amendment and agree with Thomas Jefferson when he said: “No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” Likewise, Walter Mondale reminded us in 1994 that: “Gun bans don’t disarm criminals, gun bans attract them.””
According to the NRA-ILA’s election website an A rating means: “Solidly pro-gun candidate. A candidate who has supported NRA positions on key votes in elective office or a candidate with a demonstrated record of support on Second Amendment issues.”. According to their website, a “?” means: “Refused to answer the NRA-PVF Candidate Questionnaire, often an indication of indifference, if not outright hostility, to gun owners’ and sportsmen’s rights.”
Colonel Penny Huggins Bailey is challenging Alabama’s longest serving House member, Spencer Bachus (R) from Vestavia. Bachus is seeking an 11th term in the U.S. Congress on November 6th.