Both Burgum And Stenehjem Receive Highest Marks From The NRA


North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, right, talks with Doug Burgum, left, during a campaign kick-off event at the North Dakota State University Alumni Center in Fargo, N.D. on Tuesday, November 24, 2015. Carrie Snyder / The Forum

If you’re looking for distinctions between gubernatorial candidates Wayne Stenehjem and Doug Burgum you won’t find any, at least when it comes to gun rights.

That according to the National Rifle Association which today gave Burgum their “Aq” rating, which is their highest possible rating for somebody who doesn’t already hold public office.

Obviously someone who is running for office straight from the private sector does not yet have a governing track record, but apparently the NRA has evaluated Burgum and found his positions on guns to be satisfactory.

“I’m a lifelong hunter and gun owner and proud to receive the highest possible rating for a non-politician from the NRA,” Burgum said in a statement. “As governor, I’ll be a staunch defender of the Second Amendment. I’ll fight for the rights of law-abiding gun owners to hunt and protect their families, and I’ll oppose any and all efforts to crack down on gun rights by either the federal government or here in North Dakota.”

Previously the NRA had given Stenehjem their A+ rating, which is the highest mark someone already in elected office can achieve. You can see the NRA’s letter regarding Stenehjem below.

“I am gratified for the endorsement of the NRA. I have made defending our rights and protecting us from government over-reach a priority of my public service and will continue to do so as governor. And I believe the Second Amendment is a cornerstone of those rights and our ability to preserve our liberty,” Stenehjem said in his own statement.

Paul Sorum, a Bismarck businessman running as a fringe social conservative on the primary ballot as well, has not to my knowledge received a rating from the NRA.

North Dakotans are a gun-loving people, but I don’t sense that there was a lot of concern among voters over Stenehjem or Burgum when it comes to protecting gun rights. I guess you could argue that Stenehjem’s rating is based on decades-long track record in state government, whereas Burgum’s is based simply on promises. Actions speak louder than words, I suppose, but I believe Burgum when he says he will leave our guns alone.

But, for what it’s worth, now we know.

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