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Alabama Republicans "gunning" for election night victory

By Verna Gates

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (Reuters) - Alabama may not be a battleground state but its Republicans will be armed for victory on Tuesday night.

The party, which dominates local politics and is a champion of gun rights, will hold its main election night celebration at a firing range and gun shop on the outskirts of Birmingham.

"It is consistent with our philosophy to celebrate in a place that sells guns. A gun is a way to protect yourself and to hunt, a great Alabama sport," said Bill Armistead, chairman of the Alabama Republican Party.

Only unloaded guns will be allowed through the facility's secured doors and into the firing range. The firing range, but not the bar, will be open to guests and customers until 8 p.m. at Hoover Tactical Firearms, organizers said.

"It is a very nice place to have a reception," said Armistead, citing a roomy ballroom and convenient deli.

Security will be tight, he said, adding that some "very intimidating looking people who will be armed and ready" would be working security at entrances to the site.

In addition to a White House win for Republican challenger Mitt Romney, Alabama Republicans hope to be celebrating a shutout of Democrats from all statewide offices.

If that happens, it would be the first total Republican sweep in the state since Reconstruction in the late 19th Century.

(Editing by Tom Brown and Mohammad Zargham)

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