By Matt Manda
U.S. Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), a 26 year U.S. Air Force combat veteran, says “I’ve put my life on the line for the Second Amendment.”
Arizona Republican U.S. Sen. Martha McSally spent two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives before being appointed to the upper chamber last year. Prior to serving in Congress, Sen. McSally spent 26 years in the U.S. Air Force including flying A-10 Thunderbolt IIs in Operation Southern Watch over Iraq. The senator was the first female U.S. fighter pilot to fly in combat and the first woman to command a fighter squadron.
Speaking with dozens of members of the firearm and ammunition industry for an NSSF Political Action Committee virtual town hall, Sen. McSally got right to the point when asked by NSSF’s Larry Keane what the Second Amendment means to her.
“I’ve put my life on the line for the Second Amendment,” she said.
Citizens’ Self Defense
Sen. McSally joined the NSSF PAC virtual town hall event as firearm sales continue at record levels. This includes millions of first-time buyers and accounts for growing numbers of women and minority gun owners. NSSF’s Keane pointed to the overlapping concerning circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic, shuttered businesses and now the rioting and looting. McSally agreed, adding, “I really believe people are just becoming more mindful of their safety.”
Banking Discrimination, COVID Business Protections
Sen. McSally joined the town hall after leaving the Senate floor where debate wrapped up on the Great American Outdoors Act, which later passed in widespread bipartisan agreement. An avid outdoors enthusiast on top of her firearm qualifications, Sen. McSally tweeted after final GAOA passage, “NEWS: Our historic legislation to restore Arizona’s crown jewel national parks, improve access to our public lands, & reinvigorate our outdoor recreation economy just passed the Senate. This is a huge win for AZ and all of us who love the outdoors.”
Keane asked about firearm industry priorities that might be included in a future COVID-19 pandemic relief package. Sen. McSally discussed the importance of Senate action to prohibit financial institutions and software processing companies from enacting discriminatory actions against lawfully operating businesses. Lastly, she voiced her strong support for additional funding to help with the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) backlog due to elevated firearm purchases, as well as the inclusion of liability protections for business owners as they work to safely bring employees back into stores and reopen the economy through the summer.
Arizona Senate Race
Sen. McSally’s race appears to be ground zero for which party has control of the Senate. She reminded town hall participants of her strong legislative record, hardworking team, and cautioned, “Don’t believe the polls now. We’re in a strong position.”
Keane and Sen. McSally discussed her opponent Mark Kelly, the husband of former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords and gun control’s number one ally this campaign cycle. Outside groups like billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety and others are pouring millions of dollars into Arizona to help Kelly, who so far remains largely undefined and in hiding.
Sen. McSally wrapped up the town hall by recalling the successes of the Senate and President Donald Trump in placing more than 200 pro-Second Amendment federal judges on the bench, including two on the Supreme Court, reinforcing just how important it is for industry-supporting Senators to remain in office.
Matt Manda is the manager of Public Affairs at the National Shooting Sports Foundation.