Pro-gun group grows into potent political force in Oklahoma

Pro-gun group grows into potent political force in Oklahoma

FILE- Don Spencer, left, the president of the Oklahoma 2nd Amendment Association, speaks to state Sen. Kevin Matthews after a meeting at the Oklahoma State Capitol on Monday, Feb. 14, 2022, in Oklahoma City. The pro-firearms association was little-known a decade ago but has grown into a formidable political player at the state Capitol. (AP Photo by Sean Murphy_File) OKLAHOMA CITY — Wayne Shaw seemed to have all the conservative credentials needed to win reelection to his state Senate seat in Oklahoma two years ago. The mild-mannered pastor with deep ties to the community had a solidly conservative voting record during his eight years in office. But when Shaw, as chair of the Senate Public Safety Committee, declined to hear a bill to allow people to carry guns into bars, he drew the ire of an unemployed truck driver who was passionate about gun rights. The angry gun advocate, Don Spencer, belonged to a local pro-firearms group. In short order, he and his friends recruited a Republican challenger for Shaw, held a fundraiser in his district and helped defeat the incumbent in the primary. “I’m not opposed to guns,” said Shaw, who was stunned by the development. “But that (guns in bars) is a good way of throwing gasoline on a fire.” Spencer’s feat is an example of a phenomenon in red states where the Republican Party is moving farther and farther to the right: The most potent political forces aren’t always the long-established organizations that have groomed candidates […]

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