COLUMBIA -- Republican Nikki Haley is the Gun Owners of America choice for governor.
Haley, a state representative from Lexington, won the endorsement of the Second Amendment group over Democrat Vincent Sheheen, a state senator from Camden.
Tim Macy, vice chairman of the Gun Owners of America, said Haley's support for the Second Amendment has been strong.
"Nikki Haley stands 100 percent behind the rights of South Carolina's gun owners and sportsmen," Macy said in a statement. "In particular, Representative Haley strongly supports concealed carry of firearms by law-abiding citizens."
The group's director of communications Erich Pratt said Monday that the reason why Sheheen did not receive the endorsement wasn't immediately available.
The Gun Owners of America is a grassroots organization with over 300,000 members, according to Haley's campaign. Haley has a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
Haley said she was thankful for the backing.
"Few things are as clearly defined as the right of individual Americans to own and use firearms," she said in a statement. "The right to bear arms was deemed so critical by our founders that they spelled it out in absolute terms, and it is my belief that any governmental action that undermines that right is in turn undermining the very freedoms that built our great nation."
Sheheen said he also supports gun rights.
"As chairman of the South Carolina Sportsmen's Caucus and gun owner, I have repeatedly worked with the NRA to protect the gun ownership rights of South Carolinians," Sheheen said in a statement. "There is no candidate that is a stronger supporter of Second Amendment rights and as governor, I will make sure the rights of citizens to own guns are never infringed."
The National Rifle Association has not endorsed a candidate but plans to do so at a later date, an NRA spokeswoman said Monday.
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