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Newly elected lawmakers talk sportsmen’s issues

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  • Representative-elect Tom Cotton (right) of Arkansas.
    photo by Barton James
Image of

U.S. Representative-elect Tom Cotton (AR)
DU: As an incoming congressman, please tell us a little about your background.

Representative-elect Cotton: I've had a winding, rewarding path to Congress. I grew up on my family's small cattle farm in the Arkansas River Valley, where hunting and shooting is a way of life. After college, I attended law school, but the 9/11 attacks happened my last year in school, which changed my path in life. I practiced law for a couple years, during which I represented the NRA in a gun owners’ rights lawsuit, but ultimately left to join the Army. I became an infantry officer and Airborne Ranger, serving with the 101st Airborne in Iraq and a reconstruction team in Afghanistan. I also served at Arlington National Cemetery with The Old Guard. After leaving the Army, I worked in the private sector as a management consultant for McKinsey & Co.

DU: What are your legislative priorities for the 113th Congress that will affect sportsmen?

Representative-elect Cotton: As a native Arkansan and an outdoorsman myself, I understand how central the outdoorsman way of life is to Arkansas’s culture and tradition. I also know that no one is a better steward of our environment than hunters and outdoorsmen. I look forward to supporting legislation that protects both sportsmen’s rights and wetlands-conservation efforts.

I strongly support our Second Amendment right to bear arms and I will work in Congress to protect this cherished right. I favor the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act to protect holders of concealed-carry permits when traveling across state lines. I also believe that Americans between the ages of 18 and 20 should receive the same protections as all Americans; if you are old enough to bear arms in defense of our country, you are old enough to exercise all Second Amendment rights. 

I also strongly support efforts to open federal lands and waters for hunting and fishing purposes. The Ozark and Ouachita National Forests in my district, for example, contain nearly 3 million acres of public lands that are excellent for hunting. In addition, I will support legislation that incorporates hunting and recreational shooting into federal land management planning processes.

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