Beyond that, since the NRA-ILA's existence is for political ends, don't kid yourself that they are above their own politics. For example, the Harry Reid issue: is is smart to drive the "devil you know" (who in reality is a weak Senate majority leader) out of office and thereby permit the shoo-in of Charlie Schumer as majority leader?
As in every election year, some of these endorsements prompt questions concerning the criteria NRA-PVF uses in making these decisions. Following is a brief explanation of that policy.
The NRA-PVF is non-partisan in issuing its candidate grades and endorsements. We do not base our decisions on a candidate’s party affiliation, but rather on his or her record on Second Amendment issues. The NRA is a single-issue organization. The only issues on which we evaluate candidates seeking elected office are gun-related issues. While there are many issues a candidate must address with voters, and while voters evaluate a number of non-gun-related issues in factoring which candidate they will support or oppose, NRA-PVF’s sole criteria in issuing grades and endorsements is a candidate’s position on gun-related issues.
With four million NRA members and 80 million gun owners in the country, our constituency is diverse in its views on multiple issues of our day. However, we are all united in our support of the Second Amendment and our opposition to the notion that passing more laws that negatively impact law-abiding gun owners will reduce crime. For us to divide that otherwise united base of support on non-firearm-related issues would be strategically foolish.
NRA has an incumbent-friendly policy that dictates our support for pro-gun incumbents seeking reelection. It is important that we stand with our friends who stand with us in Congress or the state legislature through their actions. Of course, should a pro-gun challenger win his election, and stay true to support for our gun rights, then he will be the beneficiary of this policy when seeking re-election.
For candidates who are not incumbents or who have not previously held elective office and thus lack voting records, we review answers to NRA’s candidate questionnaires, their campaign literature and relevant statements, and rely on intelligence from NRA members and gun owners in the field.
All of this information is then reviewed and a grade of "A" to "F" is issued. Endorsements are not given in every race. Our endorsement is not given lightly; it is something that is reserved for those candidates who meet certain criteria and something that must be earned.