The votes of target shooters, hunters and gun owners can make a huge impact in the 2012 election. To assist eligible voters with registering and with evaluating candidates' positions on Second Amendment issues, the National Shooting Sports Foundation has launched GunVote, a voter education website at nssf.org/gunvote.
To reach the most voters possible with this educational effort, NSSF is encouraging Twitter users to tag their election-related tweets with #gunvote and to keep track of related issues on NSSF's Facebook page .
The GunVote website provides links to voter registration information for all 50 states, a guide to political races in voter districts, the latest polls and a selection of news articles so voters can read the coverage of journalists and others who are following the campaigns and providing insights.
With so many Americans having become first-time gun owners in recent years, NSSF says voter education efforts are particularly important in the 2012 election. Having exercised their Second Amendment right for the first time, new gun owners are acutely aware that the freedom to own and use firearms must be protected, giving them a powerful and perhaps new reason to go to the polls.
"It's great to see that so many individuals have become firearm owners and are enjoying the shooting sports, but these freedoms require constant support from elected officials at the state and federal levels," said NSSF President and CEO Steve Sanetti. "Votes on legislation and appointments to the courts have profound effects on our firearms freedoms."
Sanetti noted that two landmark Supreme Court decisions reaffirming the individual right to own firearms -- the Heller and McDonald cases -- were decided by 5-to-4 votes.
In the 2010 congressional election, some 46.2 percent of women and 45 percent of men 18 and over reported voting, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Gun owners tend to be more active at the polls than this average, but the point is there is a lot of room for improvement. "More gun owners need to vote," said Sanetti. "It's critical that they do, and that they consider closely what candidates are saying, or not saying, about our firearms freedoms."
Voting in the 2012 election is a process that begins by making sure to register, then becoming educated about the candidates running for office and discussing choices with family and friends so that they understand the importance of voting to protect America's firearms freedoms. The final step, of course, is going to the polls and, when necessary, helping others to get to the polls, too.
Learn more at nssf.org/gunvote .