Guns play big role in Republican race

2012-03-05 10:00
Chattanooga -"Guns save lives," Matthew Lee, a volunteer for Newt Gingrich, defiantly tells people at a Tennessee gun show, which is also a key political event in the Republican primary campaign.

In states such as Tennessee and Georgia, where voters head to the polls for "Super Tuesday" primaries, the Republican contenders seeking to unseat Democrat Barack Obama are wooing voters at religious gatherings and gun shows.

One such event held on Saturday in Chattanooga, Tennessee, saw locals gather to look at shotguns, rifles, revolvers, automatic weapons and other weaponry - amid the backdrop of frenzied campaigning for November's general election.

Lee, aged 42, who was handing out flyers for Gingrich, told people at the Tennessee Valley Sportsmen Gun Show his favoured candidate believes in the constitution's second amendment - the right to bear arms.

"It is a unique right that we have in this country thanks to the freedom of the people living in this country," he said at the Alhambra Shrine Masonic Temple, the event's venue.

"Gingrich is the candidate who will improve the economy and will succeed in reducing public spending, reduce the price of gas, and is the candidate who will restore morality in America."

The undecided

Herman Cain, a former Republican candidate who dropped out of the race earlier this year, was also at the show campaigning for Gingrich, and for gun owners' rights.

"I'm in this gun show because I'm a big supporter of the second amendment, I don't believe in watering it down," he said.

"And secondly I'm here to spread the word than I'm supporting Newt Gingrich."

Even though Gingrich has been trailing in the polls, "there are lots of people that haven't decided yet... I think Newt could do very well here".

In events such as these, hardline Republicans make their pitch to show their commitment to the party's values, which often means freedom to carry weapons.

Polls show Rick Santorum, seen as a strong Christian conservative, leading in Tennessee with between 38 and 40% of the vote, with frontrunner Mitt Romney favoured by only 19 to 20%.


Gingrich, who leads in his home state of Georgia, is third with around 13% in Tennessee.

Marcy Williams, one of the gun show attendees, said she and her husband had been backing Ron Paul, the libertarian Republican congressman who is running fourth in the race.

"But we have to decide for another candidate because we know he's not going make it, it's sad," she said. "On Tuesday we'll vote, we are not sure yet, but will be between Santorum and Gingrich."

But not all the gun lovers were Republicans. Chris Willis, who came to the gun show with his eight-year-old son, said he will vote Democrat.

"I know I'm kind of an outsider here," he said.

"I have three weapons at home, I believe in this right and I like the Obama presidency, I don't see any contradiction at all. Nor do I believe that religion has to be a determining factor when choosing a candidate."

Great politician

But David Chadwick said Gingrich "is the only politician with Christian ideals who is able to restore morality in the country".

At a Republican meeting in nearby Lawrenceville, Georgia, Bruce Greenfield, said his group, appropriately named Georgia Carry, will work to elect a president who fights for the right to carry guns.

"It's true that guns save lives, because they give you the power to defend yourselves from criminals," he said.

"Personally, I'll vote for Gingrich. He's somebody that in Georgia we know pretty well and has been a great politician. He is the guy that can fix the economy in America."

Read more on:    newt gingrich  |  barack obama  |  rick santorum  |  us  |  us elections 2012

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.