Senate Candidate Joe Miller: Guns ‘Not Unusual in Political Rallies’ in Alaska

By Alex Pepper

Jul 19, 2010 3:55pm

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: Alaska Senate candidate Joe Miller’s campaign drew headlines earlier this month when a group of his supporters marched in a local parade carrying guns – including handguns and several weapons that appear significantly larger than that.

On ABC/Washington Post’s “Top Line” today, Miller, R-Alaska, said he wasn’t bothered by the demonstration, though he acknowledged that it might “raise some eyebrows” outside Alaska.

“You know, guns are a pretty big thing up here in Alaska. In fact, per capita, we probably have the highest rate of gun ownership in the nation. The Second Amendment’s very important to people up here in Alaska,” Miller said.

“So you know, it's not unusual to walk into a Wal-Mart, or to walk into a gas station, and see people carrying guns. Frankly, I wasn't in that Hummer. I was out there walking, shaking hands. But you know, it's not unusual in political rallies, it's not unusual in parades, to see that type of thing. Probably though, in the lower 48, it does raise some eyebrows.”

Miller’s primary campaign against Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, has drawn the support of Sarah Palin as well as the Tea Party Express.

Tea Party Express was expelled from the National Tea Party Federation over the weekend after the group refused to fire a spokesman, Mark Williams, who had posted blogs that organizers with the national federation have labeled racist.

Miller said he remains happy to receive the support of the Tea Party Express, even if he disagrees with statements made by one of the group’s leaders.

“I think it's appropriate for us to make an unequivocal statement that this campaign is not, in any way, racist,” he said. “In fact, we judge people by their character, rather than the color of their skin. We have a number of minorities that are assisting us in this campaign. My perspective of it is that we will embrace, though, the help that's brought to this campaign by those that are really supportive of constitutional limited government. And I think that's the direction this country's gotta go to rescue it from the financial insolvency that it's in right now.”

Miller also told us that he doesn’t think federal unemployment insurance is “constitutionally authorized,” and said the nation must “transition out of the Social Security arrangement and go into more of a privatization” for younger Americans.

Watch the full segment with Joe Miller, via Skype from Anchorage, HERE.

For our “Post Politics” segment, we checked in with Ed O’Keefe of The Washington Post on the Post’s story and the sprawling and unwieldy expansion of intelligence agencies, plus the Democratic agenda from here.

And we recapped Saturday’s National Press Club 5K, where ABC’s Jonathan Karl came in second place among “Top Line” anchors, just 38 seconds off the pace.

Watch that portion of “Top Line” HERE.

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