Election Analysis: Gun Rights in Peril
Barack Obama in the White House; many pro-gunners out of Congress
Based on his voting record in the Illinois state senate and in the U.S. Senate, President-elect Barack Obama will be the most anti-Second Amendment president in the history of America.
In January, the new President will govern alongside congressional leadership, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who are also extremely hostile to gun rights and who now enjoy greatly expanded majorities.
There can be little doubt about the direction in which gun rights are headed. The questions are how far will the anti-gunners go and how fast will they move?
Many comparisons have been made to the first two years of the first Clinton Administration, in which one party controlled both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.
Almost all experts agree that it was Clinton’s overreaching on issues like gun control that cost his party control of Congress. Barack Obama will start out governing with even larger majorities than did Clinton.
Obama ran a campaign high on rhetoric and short on specifics. The President-elect claims he will govern from the middle, but the question for gun owners is which Obama will show up at the White House — the “centrist” from the campaign trail, or the radical anti-Second Amendment extremist who supports gun bans, waiting periods for firearm purchases, one gun a month restrictions, and more?
His party’s large gains in the Congress give the incoming President more room to maneuver with a radical agenda.
An equally important question is the outlook for gun rights in the new Congress. That Obama will sign any anti-gun bill that gets to his desk is a certainty. But what can gun owners expect from the new Congress?
Hopes of Congressional restraint on gun issues dimmed with each election return as Pelosi’s and Reid’s majorities grew to historic proportions.
While there are many moderately pro-gun Democrats in Congress, they’re not the ones calling the shots. The leadership is completely in the anti-gun camp, so expanding their majority would have a negative impact on gun rights regardless who filled those seats.
Unfortunately, though, many seats that flipped parties also went from strong pro-gun to strong anti-gun. Gun owners suffered heavy losses in the Senate. Here’s a look at five Senate seats that switched parties (all switches went from Republican to Democrat).
Colorado — The retirement of A-rated Senator Wayne Allard set up a battle between anti-gun Rep. Mark Udall and pro-gun former Rep. Bob Schaffer. This is one of three senate seats that flipped from “A” to “F.”
New Hampshire — Pro-gun Senator John Sununu was defeated by F-rated former governor Jeanne Shaheen, another “A” to “F” shift.
New Mexico — Long-time Senator Pete Domenici, who was D-rated and usually voted against gun owners, was replaced by F-rated Congressman Tom Udall. Udall defeated A-rated Representative Steve Pearce, making this a big loss for gun owners.
North Carolina — Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole ran as a pro-gun control candidate for president in 2000. Since being elected to the Senate from the Tar Heel state, however, Mrs. Dole compiled a good pro-gun record. Dole’s defeat at the hands of F-rated anti-gunner Kay Hagan is a dramatic flip for gun rights.
Virginia — F-rated Republican John Warner retired. Former governor Mark Warner (no relation) trounced “A” rated Jim Gilmore, also a former governor. Either of the candidates would have been an improvement over the retiring Senator, but Mark Warner refused to answer the GOA survey and has a mixed record on gun issues.
In the battle for the U.S. House of Representatives, gun owners also were hit hard.
Of the 18 incumbents who were defeated, 15 were pro-gun (only two were replaced by a pro-gunner). Of particular disappointment to gun owners were the losses of Republican representatives Marilyn Musgrave (CO-4), Tom Feeney (FL-24), Bill Sali (ID-1), and Tim Walberg (MI-7). These representatives were among the most ardent Second Amendment supporters.
In the 32 open House seats, the results were mixed. Thirteen seats went to A-rated candidates, while six went to F-rated anti-gunners. Nine new congressmen are “Not Rated,” meaning they have no record and refused to fill out a GOA questionnaire. Four new members fall somewhere in the middle, leaning toward a pro-gun position but no guarantees. Note: a handful of close races across the country are obviously headed for recounts, but this is how things look at the moment.
The A-rated winners in open seat elections are: Tom McClintock (R-CA) (this race is still subject to change), Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Bill Posey (R-FL), Mike Coffman (R-CO), Debbie Halvorson (D-IL), Aaron Schock (R-IL), Brett Guthrie (R-KY), Erik Paulsen (R-MN), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), Christopher Lee (R-NY), Glenn Thompson (R-PA), Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY). These representatives will have their work cut out for them, as the new Congress has moved decidedly in the anti-gun direction and many pro-gun leaders were defeated.
All in all, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid can’t help but be emboldened by their gains and there can be no denying that gun control legislation is on their agenda.
So what can gun owners and sportsmen do to help prevent a gun control tidal wave? Get involved and stay engaged!
Gun Owners of America will continue its efforts as Capitol Hill’s no-compromise gun lobby. But GOA’s effectiveness depends on your activism. Please continue to send the e-mails to your congressmen, and forward GOA Action Alerts to pro-gun friends.
If you are not a member of Gun Owners of America, please join today so that you can start receiving our newsletters and other important gun rights information.
The entire Congress needs to know that we’re watching, and if they attempt to ban even one firearm or expand unconstitutional gun control in any way they will pay at the polls in the next election.