Most outdoors people I know would rather take an alder branch in the eye or get thumb-snagged on a rusty hook than spend 10 minutes at a political rally. But sometimes political reality gets close to home, especially for recreational hunters whose heritage is linked inextricably to their right to possess and use firearms in the field.
Recently in Virginia, the state legislature came within a whisker of banning the possession of semi-automatic firearms. This category cuts a wide swath, and includes not only so-called assault weapons, but a number of popular big game hunting rifles and shotguns. For Virginia sportsmen, as well as law-abiding gun owners who value their constitutional right to self-protection, the day was saved by 20,000 gun-rights activists who marched on the Virginia State House. And, at the last minute, a couple of clear-thinking state Democratic lawmakers split from the pack and opposed the gun-control measure.
The Virginia gun-rights confrontation is far from over, and will be seen again in other states, including Maine.
Over the years, the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine (SAM) has proven itself a mature, reliable and extremely effective voice for the interests and rights of state sportsmen. Likewise, SAM has excelled as a keen-nosed watchdog of the political arena. When it comes to the gun rights of state sportsmen, SAM has its nose to the wind and its collective ears to the ground.
“Everywhere I look (in Maine), I see the quiet, well-financed growth of candidates and groups that are hostile to firearms rights. These forces appear better organized and better funded than at any time in history.” These are the recent words of David Trahan, executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine.
Trahan says that the core of this movement is Maine People’s Alliance, based in Portland, which receives funding from groups established by billionaire George Soros. According to Trahan, billionaire and former Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg, despite his aborted presidential campaign, will continue to bankroll the establishment of “political centers in every populated area of Maine and will hire paid canvassers urging you to support their favorite candidates.”
National political commentators insist that the genius of our constitutional republic is such that it will not allow even a billionaire to buy his way into the U.S. presidency. For now, at least, that seems to be the case. What we do know is that unprecedented amounts of money are being spent on political races, and not just for the White House.
And as Trahan warns, citizens and sportsmen alike, whether they live in Perham or Portland, are not immune to the influence and social change that big money can buy.
Take away our guns and you take away our hunting. It is good to know that SAM is in the fight.