COLUMBIA, Mo. – The National Rifle Association held a special rally to show their support for U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt in his re-election campaign Thursday afternoon at Midway USA headquarters in Columbia.

Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president and primary spokesman for the group, made an appearance and spoke to a crowd of roughly 150 to 200 Blunt supporters. LaPierre made the case that Blunt has served as an ally to guns rights groups like the NRA.

“He has character,” LaPierre said. “He tells the truth, he goes out and fights for our freedoms.”

LaPierre touched on topics as wide ranging as Hillary Clinton’s email scandal and the Orlando Pulse night club shooting. He coupled those Republican talking points the “culture of leadership that repeatedly lies” in the Obama administration. Chris Cox, the chief political strategist for the NRA’s lobbying arm, also spoke about his time working with Blunt in Washington D.C..

Sen. Roy Blunt at an NRA endorsement event in Columbia, Mo. Aug. 11, 2016. (Travis Zimpfer/THE MISSOURI TIMES)
Sen. Roy Blunt at an NRA endorsement event in Columbia, Mo. Aug. 11, 2016. (Travis Zimpfer/THE MISSOURI TIMES)

Cox said that the NRA’s endorsement of Blunt over Secretary of State Jason Kander was “one of the easiest decisions we’ve ever had to make.”

“You have a champion in you senator in Roy Blunt,” he told the Republican crowd. “When we gave Jason Kander an F-rating, he got it the old fashioned way. He earned it. There are pro-gun Democrats in this state. Jason Kander is just not one of them.”

Blunt and Cox also told the crowd that the Second Amendment was “on the ballot” in November due to Supreme Court justices. Kander has constantly attacked Blunt as one of the Republican senators adamant on not holding hearings for President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, and Blunt has said that he would not even have meetings with Garland. Blunt illuminated his thoughts on the subject a bit more clearly Thursday, saying that putting liberal Supreme Court justices on the Supreme Court would erode gun rights.

“This government has a clear-stated intention to take away freedoms we’ve always had,” he said.

That sentiment resonated with Rep. Caleb Rowden, one of many legislators who attended the event.

“The significance of the court is not lost on many people,” Rowden said. “So this is an election that for a lot of different reasons has fallen outside the norms of tradition of years past, and I think Roy’s the right guy to be in this fight at this time.”

Sen. Jeanie Riddle and Reps. Chuck Basye, Travis Fitzwater, and Tim Remole also attended. Recent polls show that Blunt has a lead over Kander, with Remington Research showing a seven point lead for Blunt. Other polls from July showed a slightly closer race.

Blunt left Midway to attend a similar event in Cape Girardeau. Midway USA is a nationally recognized hunting and outdoors retailer.