A lobbyist whose institutional knowledge I respect tells me that Sen. Steve Faris is within reach of his goal of putting a right-to-hunt constitutional amendment among the three amendments the legislature may send to the next general election ballot.
Why this empty measure and not any number of other important ideas on municipal finance, economic development and government or even a more compelling symbolic amendment to strip our foundation legal document of religious discrimination?
Easy answer. Three words: National Rifle Association.
Faris has long cuddled up with the bullies of the NRA. He learned his lesson well as acolyte and chief of staff to Secretary of State Bill McCuen, back in 1992 when McCuen used NRA finances and gun rage to defeat U.S. Rep. Beryl Anthony in a Democratic primary. Anthony, a hunter of long standing, had undone the NRA with a vote against cop-killer bullets. His distance from his constituents didn't help. McCuen's win opened the door to U.S. Rep. Jay Dickey's election, another gun nut.
Faris has sucked up to the NRA ever since. He'll be front and center in closing records of concealed weapon permit holders, in response to the gun crowd's crazed howls. And, on account of his power in the Senate this term and his threats to punish the Game and Fish Commission if they don't acquiesce to his right-to-hunt amendment this time (the Commission has indeed acquiesced), he seems in striking distance of winning when amendments are chosen, likely this week.
What's it all about? Faris wants to follow in the footsteps of his old mentor McCuen and succeed Charlie McDaniel as secretary of state. With the NRA and assorted gun nuts behind him, you object at your peril.