Wednesday, November 8, 2006
What impact, if any, will the transformational 2006 Congressional Election have on Second Amendment rights?
While election 2006 may have been a referendum on many things (the President, war in Iraq, Jack Abramoff, Mark Foley for example), it does not translate into greater support for gun control at the grass roots level.
If anything, gun control was notable as a non-issue in this election. In compiling the GOA rating, researchers could hardly find a congressional candidate with any stated position on gun control on campaign websites.
That's not to say many of the newly elected will not support the anti-gun agenda; just that they recognize open support for gun control will cost them at the polls.
Unlike the newly elected members, however, the Democrat Congressional leadership is completely beholden to the far left anti-gun extreme of its party.
House Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi (F-rated by GOA) is a charter member of the most extreme wing of the party she now leads. As the person who controls what bills come to the floor, Pelosi will be unable to say "No" to the appeals for more gun control by the likes of Sarah Brady and her congressional allies.
The Speaker's strongest House ally in the push for more gun control is long-time Democrat anti-gun activist John Conyers, the likely Chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
Almost all bills related to the Second Amendment will pass through Conyers' committee. The new Chairman, an extremist who advocates a total handgun ban, will control the schedule of the committee as well as which bills come up for committee vote.
The situation in the Senate may be worse (pending the outcome of the Virginia senate race). Should Democrat Jim Webb hang on to win, the expected new Senate Majority will be F-rated Harry Reid (NV) and the probable incoming Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee would be GOA F-rated Pat Leahy of Vermont
From there it really goes downhill.
The rest of the Democrats currently on the committee make up the Who's Who of the anti-gun movement:
* Ted Kennedy (MA), the mouthpiece for Sarah Brady in the Senate;
* Joe Biden (DE), who chaired the Judiciary Committee when the Brady bill passed in 1993, and who said at that time, famously, "The public and the Congress have spoken unequivocally, and I don't care what a minority wants;"
* Herb Kohl (WI), author of the "Gun Free Zones Ban;"
* Dianne Feinstein (CA), author of the so-called "Assault Weapons" ban;
* Russ Feingold (WI), democrat lead sponsor of so-called campaign finance reform;
* Charlie Schumer (NY), lead sponsor of the 1993 Brady law; and,
* Dick Durbin (IL), one of the most outspoken gun control zealots in the Senate.
Gun owners should look twice at the above list. Most or all of these members will remain on the Judiciary Committee when the new Congress convenes in January, and will help shape American gun laws for at least the next two years.
There were several bright spots for gun owners this election. The 210th Congress will include the following "A rated" members who had the support of Gun Owners of America's Political Action Committee: Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Bill Sali (R-ID), Vern Buchanan (R-FL) Peter Roskam (R-IL), Tim Walberg (R-MI), Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Adrian Smith (R-NE), and Jim Jordan (R-OH).
With the exception of Buchanan, who has not held elected office, each of these new representatives have strong, proven pro-gun records in their respective state legislatures. In addition, Reps. Roskam, Walberg, Smith and Jordan are a vast improvement over the Republicans they are replacing.
Further, many of the incumbent Republicans who were defeated were not pro-gun. For example, Nancy Johnson (CT), Jim Leach (IA), Clay Shaw (FL), Curt Weldon (PA), and Charlie Bass (NH) were not strong gun rights supporters.
In the Senate, ousted Republican Mike DeWine of Ohio was as anti-gun as Charlie Schumer. The same can be said for Lincoln Chafee (R-RI).
Democrat Senators-elect Jon Tester (MT), and Bob Casey (PA), as well as Jim Webb, claim to be pro-gun. It remains to be seen if they vote that way.
The bottom line: On a race-by-race basis, the pro-gun movement suffered a net loss of only a small handful of seats.
However, notwithstanding widespread calls for moderation within their ranks, the Democrat leadership in the House and Senate will unquestionably put gun owners on the defensive by seeking to renew the so-called assault weapons ban, close down gun shows, and drastically expand the Brady gun control law.
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