Buckeye, AZ –-(Ammoland.com)- I hate being forced to break the gun rights battle down on party lines. All Republicans aren't supporters of the Constitution and the right to arms, nor are all Democrats enemies of our rights, but the fact is, Republicans, as a party, have embraced the idea of God-given rights that include the fundamental natural right of self-defense, and Democrats, as a party, have embraced a view of rights that are granted by an expanding State, where protection is left to police, or for those so entitled, armed security details.
Even if an individual politician stands with gun owners, if the politician's party doesn't, then having that politician in office can be damaging to rights. Even if they have the integrity to defy their party leadership on gun votes, every additional Democrat in Congress puts Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi that much closer to being Majority Leader and Speaker.
Picture this: Chuck Schumer (D-NY) as Senate Majority Leader with Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. How do you think that would play out for your rights?
In the House the scenario is just as dire with Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as Speaker, and Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) leading an anti-rights, rogues gallery in the House Judiciary Committee.
At a minimum, having a Democrat majority in either House guarantees an absolute halt on any forward momentum on human rights issues.
The House runs under “simple majority” rules, meaning that not only would Pelosi control the agenda and what comes to the floor, but as long as she can wrangle one vote more than Republicans do, she can pass legislation. A Democrat majority in the Senate would mean that Chuck Schumer could – and undoubtedly would – put an immediate stop to all of President Trump's judicial appointments, especially any appointment to the Supreme Court.
And while Schumer and his Democrats have used long-standing filibuster rules to effectively block almost everything Republicans have tried to pass through the Senate over the past year, they have also demonstrated a willingness to throw those rules out the window if it suits their objectives – as they did with the so-called “nuclear option” doing away with the filibuster for judicial appointments. So there is nothing but tradition standing between Chuck Schumer and simple majority rule in the Senate. And Schumer and company have made it clear that tradition is of little importance to them.
Right now, many Americans are frustrated with Congress for their failure to get things done. Most of that frustration is falling on Republicans who campaigned on promises to repeal Obamacare, close the borders, reform immigration, and reduce taxes and regulations, along with promises to restore gun rights. Most of those objectives have been effectively blocked by Senate Democrats – with collusion from some Republicans – but Republicans have failed to make a strong, visible effort, and they've failed to clearly pin the obstructionism on the Democrats. Rather than push the legislation that they promised to their constituents, and forcing the Democrats to actively fight it, Republicans have tended to look at vote counts and conclude that they can't win, so they don't even try.
The legislative result might be the same, but the perception of the public is that Republicans aren't doing what they promised.
Republicans should have a huge advantage in the Senate elections, because there are many more Democrat-held seats up this cycle than Republican-held seats, and many of those seats are in states where Trump won majorities. I examined that more closely a few weeks ago in this article. But with the resignations of several Senate Republicans like Jeff Flake of Arizona and Steve Corker of Tennessee, the advantage is waning. And while most Republicans are not lamenting the departure of these senators, they will certainly lament the resulting imbalance if Democrats win a majority.
On the House side, Republicans are in a more precarious position as many have announced that they will not be seeking reelection. Many of these retiring representatives happen to come from districts that Hillary Clinton won last year, so there is much speculation that these are rats fleeing a sinking ship.
If these politicians are bailing because they fear defeat at the polls based solely on Clinton's numbers, they are being foolish.
Perhaps reelection will be harder for some, thanks to the way the media and Democrats have energized their base with their endless moaning and gnashing of teeth over President Trump (not infrequently encouraged by the Presidents own antics), but presidential election numbers are a poor indicator of voter inclinations for congressional races, especially after a race as negative as the last one.
A much bigger factor will be what voters think when they start noticing more money in their paychecks next month, thanks to the Republican tax reform.
For those who care about the right to arms, the time to start getting involved in politics is right now – not in November, or October, or July.
Right now you can begin learning about candidates, volunteering for campaigns, and getting involved in your local party structure. Campaigns and the parties are always struggling to find more volunteers, and by getting involved now, you will get a better footing, be recognized by candidates and leaders, and position yourself to not only make a difference in elections, but also to have a politician's ear once they are in office.
Get together with a shooting buddy, and make it a team project. Start with your state or county party, and get involved with your local club. Check with your Secretary of State to see if there are open Precinct Committeeman positions open in your area, and fill the vacancies.
Vist NRA Political Victory Fund website and volunteer: https://www.nrapvf.org/volunteer/
Volunteer to man a candidate's or party table at area gun shows. That usually comes with free admission, and a great excuse to go to every show. It can also position you as a politician's go-to guy on gun issues. Most of them don't really understand our issue as anything other than a political point, so even the ones already on our side often need to be educated.
As Tip O'Neil used to say, “All politics is local,” and getting involved in local politics really does make a difference. Don't wait for Election Day to do something. Get involved right now, and make a real difference, because if we lose Congress, we lose rights.
About Jeff Knox:
Jeff Knox is a second-generation political activist and director of The Firearms Coalition. His father Neal Knox led many of the early gun rights battles for your right to keep and bear arms. Read Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War.
The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and with a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition has offices in Buckeye, Arizona and Manassas, VA. Visit: www.FirearmsCoalition.