USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- GunVoters around the country celebrated in relief when Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s “assault weapons” ban was tabled in a Senate committee, effectively killing it for the current 2020 session. Similar celebrations occurred in Washington State when a ban on “high-capacity” magazines was abandoned after pro-rights Republicans loaded the bill up like a Christmas tree, with all sorts of amendments.
But as Han Solo said to Luke Skywalker; “Don’t get cocky, kid.” These are just skirmishes in a long fight, and retreats are often just an opportunity for the opposition to regroup.
Many people are under the mistaken impression that killing the Virginia bill for the year, means that voters will have a chance to shift the balance of power in the legislature before the bill can be revived. Unfortunately, Virginia runs on an “off-year” election cycle. They hold legislative elections in odd years instead of even years like most of the rest of the country. The unusual cycle is a major contributing factor to the low voter turnout in Virginia legislative elections. That scheduling quirk worked for Bloomberg’s anti-rights crowd last year, but it also means that newly-roused and organized GunVoters could have an advantage in the 2021 election.
So long as they stay roused and organized for the next two years.
Many GunVoters in Virginia, and the rest of the country, have become complacent in recent years. Among gun owners, we have some sluggards who think “they’ll never pass that stuff here,” a collection of kamikaze types who refuse to vote in protest of politicians who fail their personal Second Amendment purity test, and those who think going hunting or stockpiling toilet paper in their Boogaloo bunker is more important than voting, Any or all of those attitudes can cost us our gun rights.
The hard fact is GunVoters have had little impact on recent elections.
Many of those who should be GunVoters, have been rudely awakened by the actions of Virginia’s Democratic majority. The clowns that have been aggressively pushing radical gun control legislation in Virginia since they managed to eke out a slim majority last year won’t face voters again until November of 2021. In the meantime, they still have a whole slate of rights-infringing proposals in the pipe, and the beat goes on.
The Virginia Senate Judiciary Committee, which referred Northam’s “assault weapons” ban to the Crime Commission last week, turned around and voted in favor of a “red flag” proposal on Monday, along with:
- a ban on your private transfers,
- limiting handgun your purchases to one per month,
- criminalizing your failure to report lost or stolen guns in a timely manner (whatever that means),
- mandate how you store your guns,
- and obliterate the commonwealth’s preemption laws, which will allow cities to come up with their own idiotic gun laws.
The fight in Virginia isn’t anywhere close to over, and as things stand now, thanks to differences between the House and Senate versions, the two houses of the legislature will be deciding between gross infringement of rights and really gross infringement of rights. Either way, you lose rights and freedom.
At best, it looks like Virginia Democrats might just have to do a little less this year and plan to come back for the rest next year.
In Washington State, the Democratic majority has revived their “high-capacity” magazine ban, by relabeling the bill as a budget issue. Washington Republicans are trying hard to hammer a stake through the heart of that zombie proposal, but they’re running out of trick plays.
Meanwhile, the New Hampshire legislature has again passed a raft of gun control bills in the “Live Free or Die” state, leaving rights supporters to hope that their Republican governor will stand firm and veto the bills again, as he did in the last session.
Vermont, Maine, and other “safe” states for gun owners have also seen Democratic majorities ram through gun control legislation.
The right to arms should be a non-partisan issue. But the two major parties have dug into their positions and drawn their battle lines. Mike Bloomberg, George Soros, Tom Styer, Bill Gates, and dozens of less prominent fat-cats have pumped billions of dollars through groups like the Giffords, the Brady Bunch, and various “philanthropic” foundations like Joyce, McArthur, and Ford, out to Democratic candidates. They have successfully revived an issue that most political observers had thought had died with the “Republican Revolution” of 1994. That was the year when GunVoters turned out in droves to defeat politicians who had pushed through Bill Clinton’s “assault weapons” ban.
The most astute political analyst of the day, then-President Bill Clinton, credited – or blamed – GunVoters for the Democratic Waterloo that even turned out a sitting Speaker of the House. Years later, with Bloomberg’s money backing them, Democrats declared the “gun lobby” to be a paper tiger, all roar with no teeth. They were proven right by apathetic and disengaged gun owners who failed to rise to the threats.
At this point, the right to arms has become one of the most straightforward partisan issues in the country. The four Democrats who bucked their party leadership in Virginia and voted to send the governor’s “assault weapons” ban out for review, demonstrated the importance of having pro-rights Democrats, but they went on to prove, with their votes for other gun control bills, that their power and cojones are very limited.
Hopefully, at some point in the not-too-distant future, we will once again have Democrats and Republicans fighting to earn the support of GunVoters, but we’re not anywhere close to that right now. Where we are right now is a place where Democrats in the majority of any legislative body, from city councils to county commissions to state legislatures to Congress, pose an existential threat to our rights.
In the past we have urged you to write and call your legislators and representatives to urge them to fight gun control and stand up for the Constitution. That’s still important and you should be doing that regularly, even if it’s only a matter of clicking on an email from your favorite rights group, attaching your name to a letter they have pre-written for you. But that’s not enough. Neither is it enough to just show up at the polls.
GunVoters have the potential to be a political powerhouse in this country again, but it will take work.
We can’t just vote, or just educate our friends and family and get them to vote. We have to become a machine like the labor unions and civil rights activists of the ‘60s. We have to get deeply involved in the messy process of electing our supporters and blocking our opponents. We’ve got to get involved in the nitty-gritty, day-to-day grind of partisan politics and elections. And we can’t rely on some organization – any organization – to do it for us.
If you want to make a difference in the future of the Republic and preserve your rights for your children, grandchildren, and for your great-grandchildren, here’s what you need to do: When you write to your elected servants to let them know how you feel, let them know that you are going to work for them, or their opponent, in the next election. Then reach out to those pro-rights politicians’ campaigns and volunteer. Tell them that you’re a gun owner concerned about the future of your rights and that you want to help get pro-rights candidates elected. Reach out to your county party and tell them that you want to get involved. Go to the meetings. Participate in petition drives, phone banks, literature drops, door-to-door canvassing… Whatever they ask you to do.
If you’re a Democrat, work to change your party’s position on the right to arms, and refuse to support any candidate that doesn’t get that issue right. If you’re a Libertarian, support candidates that have a chance of actually winning, but if they don’t have a chance of winning, shift your efforts to the candidate with the best chance of defeating the Democratic candidate. If you’re a Republican or an Independent, go to work for the at-risk Republicans, and against the vulnerable Democrats.
The bottom line in the coming elections, and elections for the foreseeable future, is to deny Democrats any majority, even if that means giving seat to a squishy – or even an openly anti-rights – Republican. As I’ve said before, a RINO in the midst of a herd of elephants is a nuisance, but a RINO in the middle of a herd of jackasses is a catastrophe. Republicans aren’t perfect, but they are a far sight better than the alternative and they are our only hope right now.
The Democratic Party has declared their intentions and proven their commitment to gutting the Second Amendment as soon as they achieve a majority within a chamber. Your job this year – and for the next several years – is to deny them that opportunity.
You are the Gun Lobby. You have the power to have a significant impact on who holds the reins in Washington and your state government. This year, we must stop Democrats from gaining any majorities, then we can focus on weeding out the weak Republicans.
They picked this fight. Now it’s up to you to make them regret it.
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.