Former Washington Redskin and president of the American Hunters and Shooters Association Ray Schoenke stopped in Clarksburg Wednesday to shoot a couple clay pigeons and talk about how the Second Amendment comes into play in the presidential campaign.
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"As a gun rights organization, we believe gun rights should be protected, and it's a right we feel strongly about," Schoenke said, adding he doesn't believe an administration under Barack Obama would decrease gun ownership rights.
"The Supreme Court has ruled the government can't take your guns away," he said. "Neither party is going to take your guns away."
There are differences of opinion on whether Obama's stance on gun ownership actually supports gun owners.
Schoenke said he believes Obama supports Second Amendment rights, including the right to bear arms, in the same manner as his opponent, John McCain. As a hunter, however, he thinks Obama would do a better job preserving land.
"His conservation stance and protection of the land is strong," Schoenke said. "As a hunter, what good is a gun if you have no land to hunt on."
Logan resident Mike Budzik, co-chair of the Ohio Sportsmen for McCain campaign, disagrees.
"Obama is an enemy of the Second Amendment," said Budzik. "He's opposed to concealed-carry laws, which we care about here in Ohio."
Obama has said on the record he would favor legislation tracking guns and gun owners who trade and sell guns illegally.
"His track record shows he is anti-gun, and Biden is also the same," said Budzik, pointing out the National Rifle Association has given him an "F" rating.
"It's America. I have the freedom to hunt and trap and fish, and it's locked up in our heritage," Budzik said. "If it weren't for the gun, we wouldn't be a free nation."
Accompanying Schoenke in Clarksburg was former Ohio lawmaker and Republican Rocky Saxbe, who said he also believes there are issues beyond the Second Amendment that should be more important to voters.
"They should not feel a threat to hunting rights or gun ownership with Obama," said Saxbe, a lifelong hunter and gun owner. "It's not the threat our guns will be taken away; it's the economy and economic challenges."
Schoenke agreed and said he believed McCain would bring poor leadership, just like his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush, if elected to the White House in November.
"We need sound leadership," he said. "Where I come from, if a coach has eight losing seasons, you don't hire the assistant the next year."
That approach has been reflected in the latest blitz of Obama campaign advertising that has begun to air in the broadcast media across the state in the past week.