NRA rebukes Marine Gen., congressional candidate, for this?
Northern Michigan’s 1st Congressional District campaign slipped into the silly season today just hours before Tuesday’s state primary election as a retired Marine Corps general running for the open seat was reportedly slapped down by the NRA for taking a reasonable approach to background checks for guns sales.
According to a campaign opponent, the NRA apparently decided to take a closer look at their “A” rating of Republican candidate Jack Bergman based on a video that surfaced on YouTube. In the video, Berman suggested that a waiting period for firearms sales is acceptable and that gun dealers should bear some responsibility if they recklessly sell to those who suffer from mental health problems.
One of Bergman’s GOP primary opponents, former state senator Jason Allen, pounced on the news.
Allen issued a press release with a double-deck headline that said, “NRA revaluates (sic) Bergman’s rating due to liberal 2nd Amendment policies; Bergman calls for mandatory waiting period, universal background checks, and calls for liability on gun dealers similar to Obama anti-gun agenda.”
Of course, calling Bergman a liberal with ideas that mesh with President Obama is merely a last-minute campaign tactic. Then again, Allen is the candidate running as the conservative outsider who will change Washington, even though he has 25 years of experience in government.
So, what prompted this 11th-hour dust-up in Michigan’s most hotly contested congressional race?
It was Bergman’s comments at a League of Women Voters forum in Alpena back on July 12. Within the context of numerous mass shootings in the U.S. by unstable individuals, here’s what he said:
There is no such thing as an emergency gun purchase. So anybody who is in a hurry, the chances are the intent may not be what it should be. So the only point is we need to know not only who the person is that has requested to purchase a handgun, but also a little bit more about them and what their mental state might be.
Let’s face it, everyone has a stake in this. If you are the seller you have a responsibility, just like you do when you are selling alcohol. You need to “card” people, you need to make certain that person is eligible, if you will, to purchase that product. Anybody who violates that is putting others in danger. It’s one thing if you want to put yourself in danger, but don’t put others in danger. We don’t need to have the dialogue going on, and on, and on, because we didn’t do something as a country. There’s a saying … “If you see something, say something.” I would suggest to you that really if you sense something, do something. Don’t wait, call it out and make sure that that individual is the “right” individual (to buy a gun).
Nothing out of the mainstream there.
Yet, perhaps at the urging of Allen, a longtime NRA member, the National Rifle Association is apparently reconsidering their “A” rating for Bergman, which was based on his responses to the gun lobby group’s candidate questionnaire.
“We don’t know a lot about Jack Bergman but his statements on expanding background checks, disallowing emergency gun purchases, calling on more liability for gun store owners … makes Bergman a risky choice for Congress,” Allen said.
State Sen. Tom Casperson, the Republican moderate in the race, has apparently not commented on the video of Bergman.
It’s important to note that this congressional campaign is being waged in the 1st District, comprised of rural northern Michigan and all of the U.P. – an area where street crime and home invasions are relatively nonexistent.
We will see on Tuesday whether voters in the 1st District believe that Bergman’s proposed approach to gun purchases will make residents unsafe.
Photos: Bergman and Allen campaigns