Q&A: U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) and U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX)

Man holding a camo shotgun in the field

Elected representatives matter. Like all elections, the 2018 midterms could be pivotal for the future of the Second Amendment as we know it. We all want our Senators and Congressmen to vote in our favor, but all too often it seems our elected representatives bow to political pressure or flip-flop on an issue in favor of feel-good politics. To help you make an informed decision, here are two members of congress that recently sat down for Q&A sessions guns and the shooting sports.

U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT)

U.S. Representative Rob Bishop hunting pheasants
U.S. Representative Rob Bishop hunting pheasants

Who introduced you to hunting/the shooting sports and at what age?

My brother took me pheasant hunting for the first time in Utah when I was 8 years old.

What was your most recent shooting sports/hunting activity? With whom?

Last fall, a handful of friends and I shot clays at a range in Maryland.

Describe your favorite shooting sport/hunting activity? Where?

One of the first bird refuges created in the United States was in my hometown of Brigham City, Utah. In those days, there were hunting refuges where notables, such as Branch Rickey & Clark Gable, would come and pass the time. One of my favorite photos shows Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig posing just after a duck hunt.

Hunting and sport shooting are ennobling pastimes, and these activities must be protected, not curtailed.

Which piece of pending legislation related to the firearms industry is particularly important to you and why?

The “Sportsman’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act,” also known as the SHARE Act, is a package of legislation designed specifically to protect and promote the interests of sportsmen. Within the SHARE Act, there is a provision which removes ambiguity from ATF rules and would safeguard against political attacks on many popular types of sporting ammunition.

Additionally, Rep. Duncan Hunter has introduced an important bill called the “Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act,” which will make it easier for Americans to utilize their public lands for recreational shooting and safety training.

What do you see as the challenges and opportunities for hunters and shooting sports enthusiasts in this congressional session?

Access is a challenge. Too often, the federal government curtails access to public lands. Especially in the west, we should be opening areas and creating opportunities for hunting and fishing. It’s the government that tries to limit these kinds of experiences, and it is long past time for that to change. As a congressman, it is my responsibility to create more freedom for sportsmen and safeguard those liberties from those would attack them for political gain.

Thanks to the good efforts of groups like National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), I think people up here on Capitol Hill are becoming more and more aware of the challenges our constituents face when it comes to finding places to get out and shoot.

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX)

U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar enjoys hunting doves in South Texas with a 12 gauge pump shotgun.
U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar enjoys hunting doves in South Texas with a 12 gauge pump shotgun.

Who introduced you to hunting/the shooting sports and at what age?

My father introduced me to hunting when I was about 11 or 12.

What was your most recent shooting sports/hunting activity? With whom?

I went dove hunting about a year ago with family and friends.

Describe your favorite shooting sport/hunting activity?  Which hunt? Which gun? Where? What species?

I enjoy hunting doves in South Texas. I use a 12 gauge pump shotgun.

Which piece of pending legislation related to the firearms industry is particularly important to you and why?

I feel that one of the most important issues for our small manufacturers, distributors, exporters, parts suppliers, and individual hunters and sportsmen is completion of the Export Control Reform Initiative.

As you know, the Obama administration in 2009 began transferring export control from the State Department to the Commerce Department. This transfer helps reduce unnecessary regulations and fees on our nation’s exports. Currently the government is still looking at transferring non-military sporting and commercial firearms and related products, the only items left to transfer.

I helped introduce the Export Control Reform Act of 2016 last year, which would have completed this transfer, however, the Congress failed to pass the bill. While we have not yet introduced it again this year, I have signed a letter to the new Administration requesting that they take swift action on this issue to support our nation’s sportsmen.

What do you see as the challenges and opportunities for hunters and shooting sports enthusiasts in this congressional session?

I think the biggest challenge is time. The Congress and the new Administration have expressed an ambitious agenda of priority items they would like to see passed this year. Given that, it will be hard to find time on the schedule for other important items. However, if we can find issues like the Export Control Reform Initiative, which have bi-partisan support, we can work together get good things accomplished for our nation’s sportsmen.

Are your elected representatives for or against the shooting sports? Share your answers in the comment section.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (12)

  1. The Enemy Amongst Us!!
    By Charles Krauthammer,
    March 6, 2018
    An article from the New York Post:
    I do not understand how living in a country with its democracy established over 200 years ago, and now, for the first time in history, suddenly we have one of our former presidents set up a group called ÔÇ£Organizing for ActionÔÇØ (OFA).
    OFA is 30,000+ strong and working to disrupt everything that our current presidentÔÇÖs administration is trying to do. This organization goes against our Democracy, and it is an operation that will destroy our way of governing. It goes against our Constitution, our laws, and the processes established over 200 years ago. If it is allowed to proceed then we will be living in chaos very much like third world countries are run. What good is it to have an established government if it is not going to be respected and allowed to follow our laws?
    If you had an army some 30,000 strong and a court system stacked over the decades with judges who would allow you to break the laws, how much damage could you do to a country? We are about to find out in America!
    Our ex-president said he was going to stay involved through community organizing and speak out on the issues and that appears to be one post-administration promise he intends to keep. He has moved many of his administrationÔÇÖs top dogs over to Organizing for Action.
    OFA is behind the strategic and tactical implementation of the resistance to the Trump Administration that we are seeing across America, and politically active courts are providing the leverage for this revolution.
    OFA is dedicated to organizing communities for ÔÇ£progressiveÔÇØ change… Its issues are gun control, socialist healthcare, abortion, sexual equality, climate change, and of course, immigration reform.
    OFA members were propped up by the ex-presidentÔÇÖs message from the shadows: ÔÇ£Organizing is the building block of everything great we have accomplished Organizers around the country are fighting for change in their communities and OFA is one of the groups on the front lines. Commit to this work in 2017 and beyond.ÔÇØ OFAÔÇÖs website says it obtained its ÔÇ£digitalÔÇØ assets from the ex-presidentÔÇÖs re-election effort and that he inspired the movement. In short, it is the shadow government organization aimed at resisting and tearing down the Constitutional Republic we know as AMERICA.
    Paul Sperry, writing for the New York Post, says, ÔÇ£The OFA will fight President Donald Trump at every turn of his presidency and the ex-president will command them from a bunker less than two miles from the White House.ÔÇØ Sperry writes that, ÔÇ£The ex-president is setting up a shadow government to sabotage the Trump administration through a network of non-profits led by OFA, which is growing its war chest (more than $40 million) and has some 250 offices nationwide.
    The OFA IRS filings, according to Sperry, indicate that the OFA has 32,525 (and growing) volunteers nationwide. The ex-president and his ÔÇÿwifeÔÇÖ will oversee the operationfrom their home/office in Washington DC.
    Think about how this works. For example: Trump issues an immigration executive order; the OFA signals for protests and statements from pro-immigrant groups; the ACLU lawyers file lawsuits in jurisdictions where activist judges obstruct the laws; volunteers are called to protest at airports and Congressional town hall meetings; the leftist media springs to action in support of these activities; the twitter sphere lights up with social media; and violence follows. All of this happens from the ex-presidentÔÇÖs signal that he is heartened by the protests.

    If Barack Obama did not do enough to destroy this country in the 8 years he was in office, it appears his future plans are to destroy the foundation on which this country has operated on for the last 241 years.

    If this does not scare you, then we are in worse trouble than you know.
    So, do your part.. You have read it, so at least pass this on so others will know what we are up against. We are losing our country and we are so compliant. We are becoming a ÔÇ£PERFECT TARGETÔÇØ for our enemy!
    EditorÔÇÖs comments: Krauthammer is about the best and brightest journalist and political analyst we have, in my opinion. His words of warning in the below message should be taken seriously and spread throughout the country so as many of our citizens as possible are made aware of what is happening right under our noses

  2. Jefferson commented extensively about the 2nd amendment and the need for an armed body of citizens to throw off government tyranny. BTW: I believe it was it was Maj. Gen. Andrew Jackson, “Old Hickory” in `812 rather than “Stonewall” , Thomas Jackson who fought in the Civil War 1862) who lead the U.S. army at New Orleans.

  3. I stopped reading your comments when you said: ÔÇ£during the War of 1812 when, under ÔÇ£StonewallÔÇØ Jackson, the militia beat the invading British army at New Orleans.ÔÇØ
    Thomas ÔÇ£StonewallÔÇØ Jackson was born on January 21, 1824.
    Sorry, but it then made any of the ÔÇ£factsÔÇØ that you cited from there on suspect.

  4. I stopped reading your comments when you said: “during the War of 1812 when, under ÔÇ£StonewallÔÇØ Jackson, the militia beat the invading British army at New Orleans.”
    Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson was born on January 21, 1824.
    Sorry, but it then made any of the “facts” that you cited from there on suspect.

  5. When push comes to shove on any gun rights bill, the Democrat will roll over and vote with his party’s agenda which is the eventual confiscation of every privately owned gun by the Federal Government.
    Support Republicans and support President Trump, if you have any brains.

  6. While it is a breath of fresh air to see a Democrat voice pro-gun matters I do agree with Mr. Thomas.
    Thank You to both representatives for there positive input.

  7. Rep. Bishop came to speak to my US History class (before my outspoken conservative views made me a target for termination by the worst school district in the world). He’s an absolutely amazing guy! Glad I met him before my life was destroyed

    #1. You mentioned the Second Amendment and it is OBVIOUS you don’t understand the basic meaning of it.
    FYI… We have the 2nd amendment, NOT FOR HUNTING!!!
    It was written ONLY for OUR self and national defense.
    You did not touch on this at all.

    1. Good point but not quite accurate. We have always had the right to defensive weapons as part of our unalienable right to LIFE, LIBERTY, and the PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS.

      The 2nd, according to the authors, James Madison and George Mason, was to create a national militia always ready to respond to a national emergency such as an invasion, or a government which ceased to recognize and guarantee the rights of it’s citizens.

      Mason described the militia as males between the ages of 14 and 65, who would respond with their own weapons, in good order (i.e. straight barrel, fresh ammo, etc.). Such was the case during the War of 1812 when, under “Stonewall” Jackson, the militia beat the invading British army at New Orleans.

      Madison said that training was not required beyond that which was normal for hunting; that marching to and fro and shooting at targets was a waste of time, powder, and shot.

      The individual states legislatures called upon both men to appear and answer questions as to the wording and intent of the 2nd Amendment, which they did. The states then ratified the entire Constitution as written, and, most of the states incorporated the wording and context into their individual state constitutions.

      All of this is documented and available to be read today in the personal writings of the authors, correspondence between the Founders, and records of the state legislatures. One should begin with the “Federalist Papers”.

      With such documentation available, I fail to see why the Supreme Court, or any other, should find need to interpret the meaning of the 2nd. Nor to place any restrictions upon the firearms since the intent was to defend the Republic against all enemies foreign and domestic, as displayed at New Orleans, it only makes sense that the Founders desire would be for the citizens to be armed with the very best firearms available in order to win a confrontation, not to lose one due to inferior arms.

      SCOTUS erred when they disallowed short barreled shotguns as implements used in war. At the time of the revolution, British Marines stationed aboard British warships utilized short barreled arms loaded with shot, glass, shards, nails, etc., to sweep the decks of ships which resisted them. Sounds like a short barreled shotgun to me.

    2. Not to be a nit-picker, but if you’re going to correct someone else’s errors, you shouldn’t compound it by making some of your own. The Militia Act of 1792 put the age range for the militia at 18-45, and Andrew Jackson won the Battle of New Orleans. Stonewall Jackson was a Confederate general in the Civil War. The rest of your post I agree with, especially your take on short barreled shotguns.

    3. If memory serves (and it usually doesnÔÇÖt), Stonewall Jackson was born in the 1820ÔÇÖs. I think Andrew is the ÔÇ£JacksonÔÇØ you may be referring to at the battle New Orleans in 1814. Not really a big deal in regards to this topic, but I thought IÔÇÖd just mention it. I find it helps lend validation to the other facts in your response that are on the money… My worthless opinion anyway.

    4. Nice history lesson Dave…but Stephen has more than just a good point. The Q&A was totally about hunting. You’ll find supporters on both sides of the aisle for that, so the responses are not surprising at all. The nuts & bolts of the 2A may be about citizens being a militia if needed…but the gist of th RTBA is on a personal level & one that is skirted in any political debate or discussion.
      You, yourself, alluded to the fact that the founders wrote it to ensure the rights of this country’s citizens, would not be ignored by it’s government. Show me proof that is not what’s going on now! This “interview” seemed more like the, “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”, type of political end-around, than giving any substantial answers to second amendment issues we face today.
      Yes, we have ALWAYS had the unalienable right to keep & bear arms…but we do not always have that right supported. That’s what I feel Stephen was saying.

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