Time to Go From Defense to Offense on Gun Rights
What a New Regime Could Mean for the Second Amendment
After decades of battling just to keep hanging on to whatever shred of gun rights that we still have left, capped off by eight recent years of renewed and intensified attacks on those rights, many see the recent election results as a turning of the tide in the fight for Second Amendment rights.
While this fight is certainly not new, anti-gun (and anti-Constitution, apparently) zealots seem to have gained steam in recent years – at least in their own minds and among their echo-chamber groups – taking the role of the squeaky wheel that bends sympathetic leftist politicians’ ears. The growth of social media during the previous president’s term led to a handful of cranky anti-gunners (and their bot-net armies) working themselves into a fervor and making complete fools out of themselves.
Given recent changes, it is time to go from being on the defense and take up an offensive position to fight back and regain Second Amendment rights that we have lost over the years at local, state, and federal levels.
The Way Things Have Been
These sensitive types have taken every opportunity they could find (or invent) to spew their vulgar, hate-filled nonsense to the tiny handful of people who would listen (and, even then, they had to lie about how big that handful was). They take to social media to obsess over penis size while claiming that gun owners “fetishize” firearms, and they start hashtag campaigns to post photos of their phallic sex toys, equating them to firearms (notice a trend?). They encourage misuse of the 911 system and police resources. As if that criminal encouragement was not enough, some of these geniuses take it even further – like the college administrator who suggested killing the NRA.
These people are as out of touch with reality as their has-been Hollywood idols (like the one who, inexplicably, blamed the NRA for a criminal stealing a cop’s gun and killing more cops with it). What is really disgusting is that they have managed to get the rest of the “mainstream” media on their side – like when HuffPo encouraged people to break into homes and vehicles to steal firearms, or when well-known “journalist” Katie Couric and her team go so far as to commit felonies in order to push their anti-gun agenda. As disgusting as that is, it is not nearly as disturbing as the law makers who hijacked the house floor and illegally live-streamed their temper tantrum, the definition of irony may actually be a senator on a secret terror watch list pushing for that list being used to identify people who shouldn’t own guns.
For years, American citizens have had to walk on eggshells hoping that fanatics in all branches of government would not be able to force their sick agenda on them. If the above wasn’t the definition of irony, how about this… The Department of Justice head who participated in an armed takeover of a building with list of demands (terrorism, anyone?) and oversaw illegally sending guns across the Mexican border to drug cartels spent his tenure doing everything in his power to restrict gun owners’ rights that are ostensibly protected by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. Yes, the same one that he swore to protect and defend when he took his oath of office.
All of that May Be About to Change
The right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed upon. Period.
– Donald J. Trump
Donald Trump on Gun Rights
The 45th President of the United States has made no bones about his support. Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump espoused support for a traditional interpretation of the Constitution of the United States and stated his position in strong support of the Second Amendment.
On his positions page, Trump vowed to defend the Second Amendment of our Constitution and stated that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed upon. Period.” The self-proclaimed “law and order candidate” has consistently called for enforcement of laws already on the books, getting violent criminals off of the streets, and empowering law abiding gun owners to defend themselves, saying that “law enforcement does a tremendous job, but they can’t be everywhere all of the time.”
One blemish on his RKBA record came seventeen years ago, when Trump voiced his support for Clinton’s 1994 ban on so-called “assault weapons” in 2000’s The America We Deserve. While distressing for gun owners who strongly oppose this gross infringement, it might not be surprising considering that it was written by a New York businessman nearly two decades before seriously entering the political arena. Given that context, and that gun rights are pretty far outside the wheelhouse of a real estate and casino man, it could well be that he fell into the trap of believing the left’s propaganda about just what an “assault weapon” is (or that they even exist) and did not understand how heavily regulated actual assault rifles already were.
That point is further driven home in Trump’s full Second Amendment position, in which he says that “gun and magazine bans are a total failure. That’s been proven every time it’s been tried.” He goes on to say that anti-gunners “try to come up with scary
sounding phrases like ‘assault weapons’ […] and ‘high capacity magazines’ to confuse people” when “what they’re really talking about are popular semiautomatic rifles and standard magazines that are owned by tens of millions of Americans.” When was the last time you heard a top-level politician talk like that?!
Days before winning the 2016 Presidential Election, Trump formed and announced an advisory Second Amendment Coalition to help guide gun rights policies and stocked it with solid names including politicians, industry bigwigs, brains, and shooters.
But all of that is nothing compared to one of the biggest, most important tasks that the 45th president has before him…
The Balance of the Supreme Court
As soon as word spread of the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, Second Amendment advocates knew that we had lost a true patriot and hero of the US Constitution from the Supreme Court bench – one who proved to be the deciding factor on important Second Amendment decisions. The importance of this stalwart RKBA supporter’s SCOTUS seat was made clear in the NRA-ILA’s piece The Next Supreme Court, by the Numbers. Trump himself noted the importance of filling Scalia’s seat in a Q&A session with NRA’s Chris Cox, saying “I believe the Second Amendment protects an individual right, and the D.C. gun ban overturned in Heller is exactly the kind of law the Second Amendment was meant to prohibit […] I will appoint judges who will preserve our Second Amendment rights.”
On his campaign website, Trump vowed to “nominate United States Supreme Court justices that will abide by the rule of law and the Constitution of the United States that includes upholding the Second Amendment.” In what he deemed to be one of the most transparent processes ever, Trump released his list of Supreme Court nominees a month and a half before he won the election – a list from which this week he named Neil Gorsuch as his nominee.
The nomination of Gorsuch, a Constitutional traditionalist, to the SCOTUS seat was applauded by Second Amendment proponents. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) backed the pick, saying that “his service will do honor to the legacy of the late Justice Antonin Scalia in the protection of the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans.”
Second Amendment Foundation’s (SAF) Alan M. Gottlieb said “we can honestly say that there may not be a better candidate to fill the seat left vacant by Justice Scalia’s passing last year.”
In an official statement, NRA’s Chris Cox applauded Gorsuch’s selection, “President Trump has made an outstanding choice,” saying “he has an impressive record that demonstrates his support for the Second Amendment. […] We urge the Senate to swiftly confirm Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, just as it did in confirming him to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit by a unanimous voice vote.”
During his tenure on the Tenth Circuit, Gorsuch demonstrated his belief that the Constitution should be applied as the framers intended. Gorsuch has supported the individual right to self-defense, writing in an opinion that “the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to own firearms and may not be infringed lightly.”
The President’s Right Hand Man – Mike Pence on 2A
In mid-July of 2016, in typical Donald Trump fashion, the 45th POTUS announced his VP pick as Indiana governor Mike Pence via Twitter. And gun owners saw that it was good.
I am pleased to announce that I have chosen Governor Mike Pence as my Vice Presidential running mate. News conference tomorrow at 11:00 A.M.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 15, 2016
The NRA said in their America’s 1st Freedom journal that “pro-gun candidates don’t come any better than Mike Pence,” noting his record of tenaciously fight for our 2A rights as a member of Congress and as Governor of Indiana – a position that he won with an NRA endorsement and “A” rating.
In Congress, Pence signed amicus briefs in support of gun rights in two landmark Second Amendment cases, District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008 and McDonald v. Chicago in 2010.
Just days after being tapped as Trump’s running mate, Breitbart’s Awr Hawkins described Pence as “a strong advocate for the Second Amendment who brings an undeniable pro-gun voting record to Donald Trump’s presidential aspirations.”
Pence has also supported national reciprocity bills, protected firearms manufacturers from being sued for criminal misuse of their products, and co-sponsored bills including the Second Amendment Enforcement Act and BATFE reform bills.
Our Constitution’s Bill of Rights was designed to guarantee a list of basic and essential rights for the individual citizen. The right to bear arms was wisely included on this list by our country’s founding fathers in their day, and I intend to protect it in mine.
– Mike Pence
There’s a New Attorney General in Town
The Department of Justice has had some real characters at its helm thanks to the previous president’s AG picks: Eric Holder (remember the guy who participated in that armed takeover at Columbia University and illegally trafficked guns?), his successor Loretta Lynch (who worked with president 44 on gun control executive orders), or her successor, acting AG Sally Yates (who just got fired for refusing to enforce the law).
In sharp contrast to these questionable choices for the nation’s top law enforcement official, the confirmation battle is now on for President Trump’s AG pick, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions.
NRA’s Chris Cox said of the nominee “unlike his predecessors, Sessions knows that law-abiding gun owners are not the problem. He strongly supports our Second Amendment freedoms and will work tirelessly to protect them. This is in marked contrast to Holder and Lynch, who constantly attacked America’s gun owners“, citing shennigans such as Operation Choke Point, an organized effort to suffocate legitimate firearms retailers by denying them banking services.
During his political tenure, Sessions – who has an NRA A+ rating – has accumulated quite a pro-2A record: fought to eliminate DC gun registration, opposed the UN gun treaty, fought so-called “universal background checks,” voted to protect manufacturers from frivolous lawsuits, worked to allow firearms in Amtrak checked luggage (as was already allowed on commercial airplanes), and fought against so-called “high capacity magazine” bans.
What Does this All-Star Lineup Mean?
So we have an avowed Second Amendment supporter in the Oval Office with at least one SCOTUS pick, another Second Amendment supporter in the Vice President position, a Republican majority in the House and the Senate, and conservative wins in state and local races across the country. What does all that mean?
For starters, it means that things are changing. Bigly. Consider this: people who just missed the voting age cut-off when the previous president first got elected are now in their mid- to late-twenties. If they were apathetic in their youth and were not following politics, there are people in their thirties who have known nothing but that president’s (and his administration’s) policies for their entire adult life. Even before that, as Neal Knox chronicled, leftists have been pushing hard for increased gun regulations for decades, keeping Second Amendment supporters on their heels and able to do nothing but hope to slow the onslaught of gun control.
This positive outlook for gun rights is unprecedented for the current generation and for most people who are alive to witness it. But all this winning does not mean that the fight is over. On the contrary, the real fight is just beginning. Supporters of gun rights need to go on offense at all levels of government.
- Join the NRA – This is the nation’s oldest and largest Second Amendment rights organization, fighting at various levels to protect gun rights. When you hear liberals say “well, we was gonna do some gun controllin’ but we couldn’t ’cause of that doggone gun lobby gettin’ in the way“, the gun lobby that they’re talking about is the NRA – i.e., the millions of Americans who believe in the right to keep and bear arms. Click here to join NRA today and save big on membership dues.
- Support Confirmation of Pro-Gun Nominees – Despite what some elected representatives think of themselves, the United States of America is not run by kings or queens. We have three separate, co-equal branches of government as well as numerous organizations to whom various administrative and enforcement duties are delegated. Take, for instance, the important roles of the Attorney General at the helm of the DOJ (and, thus, the BATFE) or the swing-decision seat on the Supreme Court, who could shape Second Amendment legal precedent for generations to come. These people are nominated by the President and must be confirmed by our elected representatives. Contact your representatives and urge them to support pro-gun nominees for these important positions!
- Support Pro-Gun Legislation – 2017 and beyond is already proving to be an exciting time to live in for gun owners and Second Amendment advocates. We have already seen the reintroduction of national reciprocity bills and the Hearing Protection Act (with an actual chance this time – fingers crossed) in addition to many more firearm legislation proposals. Use the link above to contact your representatives or use the NRA-ILA Take Action tool and urge your reps to support pro-gun bills.
- Come up with a Wish List – The sky is the limit. Many saw the 2016 election as an upset of the status quo and as a mandate for change. One of the focal points of campaign stump speeches on both sides of the political aisle was gun control, with one side vehemently for more regulation and the other side for adherence to the US Constitution and protection of gun rights. Americans loudly and clearly chose the latter. With majorities in the House, Senate, Oval Ofice, and state houses and legislatures around the nation and (soon, presumably) a return to a Constitutionally-minded SCOTUS, now is the time to strike while the iron is hot. Come up with a wish-list of specific pro-gun legislation or roll-backs of specific gun control measures and tell your local, state, and federal representatives what they are.
- Teach a New Generation About Firearms – Like the generation of voters (or not) who have known nothing during their adult life but the authoritarian rule of the previous president, there is a new generation behind them who have known nothing but the constant “guns are evil” mantra of the left. Teaching youngsters about safe gun handling and changing their perception of firearms is important. Instead of firearms being evil tools of destruction, as politicians and media have portrayed them, the next generation could go back to respecting the firearm and seeing it as a valuable tool for hunting, a fun hobby for target practice, or a practical means of self defense.