This is from 2006 when I was in the legislature:

Protecting Gun Rights

Vital to Alaskans

By Representative Vic Kohring

On March 30, 1981, President Ronald Reagan was shot by a confused young man attempting to impress actress Jody Foster. Why murdering a president would impress Foster is one question apparently John Hinckley never asked himself. But Reagan not only forgave Hinckley, he never once brought up the issue of gun control.

To we Alaskans gun control is a favorite topic of discussion and the goal of many liberals in the Lower 48. We in the North know better. Guns are needed tools and secondly a source of sport.

Our progress in defense of the Second Amendment comes from a surprising individual, Democrat Representative Eric Croft. His legislation to eliminate concealed carry requirements, House Bill 102, was signed into law in 2004. We should thank him for both his perseverance and support of the right to keep and bear arms.

Which brings up an interesting question. Are you aware that a teenager growing up in America sees tens of thousands of rifle and pistol killings on TV by the time he or she is 16? And yet, not one in 100 is aware of the nation's premier rifle and pistol competition at Camp Perry, Ohio held each year in August. Much of America's media is so biased against guns and private ownership of weapons, that we are not told of all the peaceful and legitimate use of guns in our nation. With the exception of the History Channel and occasional specials on other channels, most young people think of guns as killing machines and only killing machines.

I admit that while I have hunted and enjoy "plinking" in the Valley, I too was unaware of the Camp Perry competition until I spoke with a friend of mine who told me his father had gone to Perry in his youth during the First World War. Was his father a good shot? My friend said his father missed out on being in the top 20 marksmen in the country because he "shot two bulls ... but they were on my neighbor's target so I was disallowed the points!" Interesting that my friend did not know of his father's interest in shooting until he was 30 himself.

The next time you see some TV corporate bad guy using a gun to ventilate the innocent, remember there are many more acts of self-defense using a rifle or pistol. The media also largely refuses to cover rifle and pistol competitions.

You can see guns on the History Channel, read about them in NRA or other magazines. Why do you seldom read about them in the Seattle Times or the Anchorage Daily News? Perhaps it's time to pressure these editors and insist they answer.

In the meantime enjoy your weapons. Teach your children how to use them safely. Teach them to be good shots and to know their legal bounds. Teach them to respect a gun's power and abilities. Teach them to understand the Second Amendment, where it came from and why it's so important. Enjoy competitive shooting sports. Alaska is the most beautiful state in the country and to be out in the field shooting with friends and family is heaven.

I believe President Reagan knew this. He was aware of all the positive aspects of owning and knowing how to use a rifle or pistol. He would never blame an inanimate object for what a thoughtless human being did.

That's why I agree with the newly coined line "I would rather go hunting with Dick Cheney than driving with Ted Kennedy."

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Paid for by Vic Kohring for U.S. Senate