Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama face a tough sell in pro-gun Western states, where the concentration of gun owners is high.
In the rural West, suspicions linger about both presidential candidates' past support of gun control.
Westerners are also concerned about Obama's recent comments, that people in downtrodden areas "cling to guns or religion."
Many believe the Illinois senator doesn't grasp the importance of the gun issue in the Rocky Mountain West, where fiercely independent voters often take a dim view of federal regulation.
Obama says he chose the wrong words, to characterize the economic insecurity that many people face.
Meanwhile, the Clinton campaign has been highlighting the comments, saying Obama's views are offensive to rural westerners.