A decade ago, Sun Devils cheered on football captain and record-setting quarterback Andrew Walter.
Come August, they’ll have the chance to vote for him. Walter is running against retired Air Force Lt. Col. Wendy Rogers in the 9th Congressional District’s Republican primary. The winner will take on sitting Rep. Kyrsten Sinema in the general election to represent the district, which includes all of Tempe and parts of Mesa, Scottsdale, Chandler, Ahwatukee and Phoenix.
Walter’s reputation as a hometown hero and his gridiron greatness (if you don’t count his less-than-impressive four seasons with the Raiders and Patriots) should propel him past Rogers, but he’s making some bizarre campaign decisions.
If you have $250 to spare on Friday night, Walter will let you shoot a single box of ammo from a Glock 18, the gun that makes up 65 percent of U.S. law enforcement’s firepower. Donors who give $1,000 get 250 rounds of ammunition and a chance to fire three weapons, according to The Arizona Republic.
After the fun with guns, Walter and donors will retire to a nearby restaurant for cocktails and cigars, and presumably some conversation that includes the words “old sport.” They might even be able to share some empathetic comments with state Rep. Adam Kwasman, another Republican Congressional candidate, who this week mistook a bus full of YMCA campers for a group of migrant children and sent a tweet about how sad they looked.
Walter’s event, titled “Evening of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms,” is far from the first kooky campaign fundraiser. The Sunlight Foundation, a nonprofit nonpartisan organization that shares fundraising information, notes that candidates around the country have hosted at least seven events that put a gun in donors’ hands, at least temporarily.
Walter supports the Second Amendment; it’s one of the eight issues he addresses on his campaign website. (The others are similarly in line with his party: Walter wants a more laissez-faire economy, less government spending, a repeal of the new health care law, unspecified reforms to Social Security and Medicare, less federal involvement in education, fewer abortions and an “honest debate about immigration reform.”)
“Politicians will never be able to legislate into extinction the immorality that exists in the human heart,” his website says. “I reject the notion that restricting law-abiding citizen’s Second Amendment rights will somehow reduce violent crimes perpetrated by law-breakers. Hunting and responsible gun ownership is part of the Arizona way of life.”
Unfortunately, most of the country sees the Arizona way of life as being full of irresponsible politicians and a dogged clinging to the long-gone Wild West. Walter’s cleverly titled event does nothing to help the state move past this reputation, and it distracts from an important conversation we could be having about gun control.
A little more than three years after nine people were killed and former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Tucson, was shot at a campaign event, it’s disappointing that one of our Congressional contenders is seeking to support his own campaign by handing out guns.
Want to join the conversation? Send an email to email@example.com. Keep letters to 300 words and include your university affiliation. Requests for anonymity will not be granted.