NRA dismisses Libertarian candidates

Lon Cecil has been a member of the National Rifle Association for 20 years. He’s encouraged local shooters, co-workers and friends to take NRA training courses on handgun safety and skills.

“I’ve also branded my vehicles with NRA logos and have an NC NRA tag on my pickup, so I am somewhat of a rolling advertisement for the NRA,” said Cecil, the Libertarian candidate for U.S. House District 12.

None of this is apparently enough to earn a listing in the NRA’s 2010 Voter Guide, which includes only Democrats and Republicans.“With the emergence of Tea Parties and other freedom and Constitutional grassroots movements this year, the guide exhibits a DC-myopic view of the American political process,” Cecil said.

In many races the NRA doesn’t recommend a candidate, but rates each candidate’s response to their extensive questionnaire, which Cecil said he answered. He said the guide even lists one F-rated incumbent.

The guide does include an endorsement of three North Carolina Democrats — Mike McIntyre, Larry Kissell and Heath Shuler — who were actually targeted for defeat by liberals and progressives in their own party.

When he tried to get an explanation of the slight to third party candidates from NRA headquarters, Cecil said he was told that their computers are unable to handle the large lists that would be required to include third party candidates in their voter guide.

“This is the same argument used by North Carolina to restrict party access to the ballot due to possible ‘voter confusion,’” he said. “Members should contact the NRA and request they change this discriminatory policy and update the online ballot to display all candidates that appear on the printed state ballots.”

Cecil and other Libertarian candidates were included in voting guides produced by Gun Owners of America and Grass Roots North Carolina. He earned the highest four-star rating from GRNC. Neither Democratic incumbent Mel Watt nor the Republican candidate responded to the GRNC questionnaire. In the GOA survey, Cecil received a B rating, Watt an F- and the Republican did not respond.