The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

May 29, 2008

In our view: Stop political pandering

Earlier this week, Republican gubernatorial candidate Sarah Steelman pulled a political stunt by making a public show of purchasing a rifle for her 13-year-old son for his birthday.

Steelman, as a parent, is entitled to her decision on whether her son needs a gun, but to use the occasion as an opportunity to emphasize her support for the Second Amendment is just plain tacky.

We support the Second Amendment. What we don’t support are candidates who apparently believe the general public is so naive that it can’t see out-and-out pandering.

Steelman, on Wednesday, posed for the cameras, holding various rifles while pretending to set her sights on a target. She then posed for a news conference in front of display cases of shells.

Steelman told reporters invited to the event at Ammo Alley near Jefferson City that she was just expressing her love for the Constitution.

Here’s what needs to happen.

We, the media, need to stop showing up for such nonsense, because in essence we are being used as political tools.

Steelman cited her support as a state senator of a 2003 law allowing Missourians to carry concealed guns. She also pledged to protect the right to bear arms if elected as governor, though she offered no specific proposals.

Steelman, currently the state treasurer, is competing with U.S. Rep. Kenny Hulshof for the Republican nomination for governor. Both have emphasized their socially conservative viewpoints.

Her stance on the Second Amendment, we believe, is a given.

Next time, Sarah, don’t call a press conference unless you really have something to say.

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