Pennsylvania Gun Group Endorses Obama

American Hunters and Shooters Association supports Obama for president.

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Sen. Barack Obama's campaign today picked up the endorsement of a small gun-rights group, support that the candidate hopes to use to show that he is not a threat to Pennsylvania gun owners. "We reached out to them weeks ago," said Ray Schoenke, president of the American Hunters and Shooters Association, clarifying any suggestions that Obama solicited their support after his recent comments slighting gun owners. The Democratic-leaning group has a more moderate approach to gun ownership than the National Rifle Association, which regularly raps the group as weak on the Second Amendment. The endorsement wasn't a surprise: We reported last month that the two-year-old group had indicated it would back Obama over Sen. Hillary Clinton because of his support for legislation to prohibit the use of federal money to confiscate weapons during disasters like Hurricane Katrina. Clinton opposed that proposal. Today, Schoenke said in a conference call that "we have not come to this position lightly." He added that the group believes Obama "gets it" on Second Amendment issues and will be a "strong and authentic voice for America's shooters." Schoenke said that his endorsement also extends to the general election against Sen. John McCain.