From America’s 1st Freedom: http://www.americas1stfreedom.org/articles/2016/2/8/where-have-the-pro-gun-democrats-gone/
by Darren LaSorte
Monday, February 8, 2016
I began lobbying for the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) in late 1999. I was inspired to get directly into the fight for freedom after the tragic events of Columbine led to widespread calls to disarm citizens like me who had nothing whatsoever to do with that dark day. The emotional nuts were not going to take my freedom without a fight.
In those early days for me at ILA, it was not uncommon for our leading legislative advocates to be Democrats. A few that readily come to mind in some of the states assigned to me are Rep. Bob Damron in Kentucky, Sen. Doug Jackson in Tennessee, Sen. Herb Guenther in Arizona and Rep. Marlin Schneider in Wisconsin. In Congress, some of the most important leaders in our cause were Democrats, including John Dingell of Michigan and Harold Volkmer of Missouri. Unfortunately, since those days things have changed so dramatically that, to those of us engaged back then, today’s process is almost unrecognizable.
When it comes to the partisan nature of the gun rights issue, one day was particularly memorable to me. Before the state legislative elections in Tennessee in 2000, I went to a scheduled meeting with the speaker of the House, Jimmy Naifeh, who was a Democrat. He was a very partisan guy to say the least, and immediately greeted me for the first time by asking, “So, you’re that boy with the National Republican Association, eh?” His bluster took me aback for a moment, but I responded with a smile and told him that I was actually with the National Rifle Association.
I asked him why he’d say something like that, and he responded by claiming that the NRA only supports Republicans in the state elections that mean so much to him. I went out on a limb to some extent, but I had just completed the NRA-PVF Political Preference Chart announcing all of the candidates supported by NRA-PVF and was reasonably certain of the bold claim I was about to make. I told him it would surprise him to know that we had endorsed more of his Democrat assembly members in contested general election races than we had Republicans. He laughed and proceeded to use some colorful language to suggest that I had to be full of it. I told him I’d bring him the evidence.
That night in my hotel room, I nervously tallied the endorsed Democrats and Republicans. To my relief, I was right—and the margin was not razor thin. I wrote the speaker a memo detailing the endorsement numbers and submitted it to his office. To his credit, he apologized to me a few days later and said he was pleasantly surprised by NRA’s clearly non-partisan actions in the elections, at least in his state. What I had told him during our earlier discussion was true—we supported candidates solely based upon their track record with regard to support for our God-given right to arms.
Like many others at that time, he later took the discussion to NRA’s action in national elections. He said that NRA predominantly supported Republicans. This was during the epic presidential battle between Al Gore (a Tennessean) and George W. Bush, and many policy makers in Tennessee, including the speaker, were hot about NRA’s support of Bush.