Describing the stark descent into heavy gun-regulation that they say Barack Obama's presidential administration will seek, National Rifle Association officials came to town Wednesday and called U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss' re-election crucial to protecting freedom and blocking a far-left agenda.
Chambliss, who's in a Dec. 2 Senate runoff with Jim Martin, could represent the last line of defense between Democrats and a filibuster-proof team of 60 senators in Congress. That would give the Democrats powerful control in Washington, since the filibuster is a long-standing tool for minority parties to block legislation.
With NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre headlining the rally, speakers didn't pull any punches as they derided Obama's promises to protect gun rights as mere electioneering. A crowd of nearly 100 attendees — many wearing "I'm a bitter gun owner and I vote" stickers— lapped it up.
"(This election is) the difference between freedom in America and not," state Sen. Ross Tolleson, R-Perry, said in his introduction.
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"There's not a more important place ... if you believe in the 2nd Amendment ... than right here in Georgia," LaPierre said.
Obama is going to "break that promise" to protect gun rights by caving to the anti-gun lobby, LaPierre said. He has a history of supporting gun-control legislation and higher taxes on guns and ammunition, and Chambliss' seat is crucial to blocking legislation of the sort, LaPierre said.
With the news that Alaska Republican Sen. Ted Stevens lost re-election and a Minnesota Senate race still up in the air, Chambliss could represent the last Republican chance to keep 41 seats in the Senate. Republicans and Democrats alike are throwing money and resources into the race. Martin, for example, was in Atlanta for a rally with former President Bill Clinton on Wednesday.
If Republicans can't block bills in the Senate, "it's going to be your taxes going up immediately," Chambliss said. "It's going to be liberal federal judges," the senator said. "It is imperative that we have the ability in the Senate to block or shape (bad legislation)."