Fayetteville, AR –-(Ammoland.com)- This year’s NRA convention in Dallas featured the usual group of speakers from the organization’s leadership and Republican politicians, including Donald Trump and Mike Pence. The speeches were predictable, and as glad as I am to hear prominent figures in the federal executive and legislative branches express their support for gun rights, I’m left wondering what Republicans have done—not said, but done—for gun rights lately.
It’s time to face reality. The Republican Party will not be in control of the House of Representatives in 2019. They might not even control the Senate. These statements may draw vehement objections from my readers, but the history of mid-term elections and Trump’s approval rating puts this prediction on solid ground.
I take the Democrats at their word here when they campaign on imposing more controls. If I’m right, this means that the party has eight months, minus breaks for fundraisers and campaigning, for passing improvements in our gun laws.
What do I have in mind? Removal of suppressors from the National Firearms Act of 1934 and national carry license reciprocity are immediately obvious proposals. The bills, H.R. 367 and H.R. 38 are sitting on the table, waiting for action.
And like the refugees in Casablanca, they wait and wait and wait. A shooting grabs headlines and the bills get set aside. Candidates run on protecting the Second Amendment, as Tom Cotton did in my state, and go on to do little in office.
One area of progress on gun rights has been in the federal judiciary. This is an element of the long-term strategy that has built on the Heller and McDonald decisions. One example of this was the Seventh Circuit’s decision in Moore v. Madigan (2012) that cited those previous rulings in support of the Second Amendment’s protection of an individual right. Even with the predicted shift in power in Congress next year, appointment of judges who support gun rights is likely, given the inability of Democrats to block nominations.
But this is a slow process, one that is also not a guarantee. We have to work on multiple fronts, understanding that gun control advocates are also running a long game. Trump has shown his love of executive orders. Why has he not directed the ATF to devote more resources to processing applications to own NFA firearms or to change any of a number of regulations that the agency has the discretion to create? Why are the Republicans in Congress not attaching pro-gun amendments to bills that have to pass?
Where are the results to match the promises that we get year after year?
To quote Elvis, a little less conversation, a little more action, please. Showing up to the NRA convention and claiming to support the Second Amendment isn’t enough. Saying “we’re not Hillary Clinton or Shannon Watts” isn’t enough. That might be sufficient if there were not a movement against guns in this country. We could let things move at a glacial pace on the federal level, leaving the states to score gains. But that’s not the political reality. As things are currently, we push forward or fall back, and if Republicans are going to tell us that they support the Second Amendment, it’s time for them to show results.
About Greg Camp
Greg Camp has taught English composition and literature since 1998 and is the author of six books, including a western, The Willing Spirit, and Each One, Teach One, with Ranjit Singh on gun politics in America. His books can be found on Amazon. He tweets @gregcampnc.