NRA grades candidates on firearms policy issues
Wednesday, 28 May 2014 13:01

Locals from both parties ranked highly

by Ben Boehl

    While many organizations interested in government policy make endorsements during election years, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has instead chosen to issue a “grade” to each candidate running for office, based on responses to a survey sent to all the candidates in this year’s election.
    The high grades in the gubernatorial race were given to Republican candidates, while the Democrats received significantly lower grades. Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Attorney Gen. Douglas Gansler and Del. Heather Mizuer all received “F” ratings from the NRA.
    Harford County Executive David Craig and Del. Ron George each received an A grade, while Larry Hogan was given an A-minus.
    Republican Charles Lollar did not fare well with the NRA, receiving a D-plus rating.
    In the 6th District, the grades were high for Democrats and Republicans who completed the survey.
    Del. John Olszewski Jr., who is running for state Senate, and Del. Mike Weir, who is seeking re-election, both received A grades.
    Olszewski was the only Senate candidate in the 6th District to receive a grade.

“I do not conduct my legislative work out of concern for how any individual group may score positions, but rather with a focus on making decisions that support the people and the communities of our district,” Olszewski said.
    “That being said, to the extent this grade helps to underscore that I am a supporter of the Second Amendment, I certainly welcome that recognition as a legislator and candidate for state Senate.”
    Weir, Ed Crizer and Jake Mohorovic were the only three of the 11 House Democratic candidates to receive a grade. Crizer got a C and Mohorovic received a B-minus.
    On the Republican side, Bob Long received an A-minus, which he said is the highest possible grade that he could receive.
    “They couldn’t give me an A-plus or an A because I never voted on anything [as a serving legislator] before,” Long said.
    Gary Sparks, who has ran a low-key campaign so far, also received an A-minus.
    Jerzy Samotyj, who has also run a low-key campaign, received an “AQ.”
    According to the NRA, website, an AQ ranking is “a pro-gun candidate whose rating is based solely on the candidate’s responses to the NRA-PVF Candidate Questionnaire and who does not have a [legislative] voting record on Second Amendment issues.”
    Long explained that he has been active enough with the NRA to get an A-minus grade, while the AQ rating is based on the survey alone.
    “You have to be active. You can’t just tell them what they want to hear [to get a grade other than the AQ rating],” Long said.
    After seeing the grades, Long said he was unhappy that he, Sparks, Samotyj and Grammer were the only four of the nine GOP House candidates to fill out the questionnaire.
    “These guys say they are pro-Second Amendment, but where are they? Long asked.
    “It is very important if you are pro-NRA you need to take five to 10 minutes to fill out the survey to show your support. And I don’t want to hear they didn’t get [the survey].”
    However, at least two GOP House candidates — Carl Magee and Mitchell Toland Jr. — have said, that they actually did not get the survey.
    “I just spoke with Shannon Alford from the NRA who is having a questionnaire sent to me by her assistant. I did not originally receive a questionnaire from the NRA,” candidate Toland said.
    “We are correcting this situation and will have a grading shortly.”
    Grammer added that he did not receive the survey, but said he spoke with a NRA representative later to get his survey and rating.