A Crucial Fork In The Road To Freedom

posted on June 24, 2016
Johnson Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call, Ayotte Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images, Heck Photo by Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call

This feature appears in the July ’16 issue of NRA America’s 1st Freedom, one of the official journals of the National Rifle Association. 

While determining the next resident of the White House is critical, American gun owners can’t overlook the importance of the U.S. House and Senate races this fall. 

No friends of freedom (left to right): Russ Feingold, Catherine Cortez Masto and Maggie Hassan. Feingold Photo by Darren Hauck/Getty Images, Masto Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images and Hassan Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call.

As Hillary Clinton continues to attack the NRA and brag about the gun control measures she would implement as president of the United States, the Second Amendment hangs in an increasingly perilous state of limbo. We have detailed before how a Clinton presidency—with the ability to run her gun-ban agenda out of the White House and appoint as many as four U.S. Supreme Court justices—would be devastating to the rights of America’s law-abiding gun owners. She has continued to make it clear that eliminating our fundamental rights is her top priority. 

Yet there is more at stake this November than simply choosing the next president. The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are also up for grabs. An anti-gun majority in either chamber, combined with a Clinton win, would give gun-banners the freedom to eliminate our gun rights. 

“If Hillary Clinton wins the White House, she’ll make the destruction of our Second Amendment freedoms her number-one priority,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “And if we lose the Senate, Chuck Schumer would become majority leader and implement her
gun control agenda.”  

With these dire consequences in mind, at press time NRA-ILA has identified six key Senate races—New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Ohio, Nevada, Missouri and North Carolina—that could make the difference for the future of the Second Amendment. In each of these states, gun owners must make sure they, their family and their friends get mobilized, get registered to vote, and get to the polls in November to elect pro-gun Senate candidates in these critical races. 

In the Show Me State, Democrat Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander is challenging NRA A-rated Sen. Roy Blunt for his Missouri Senate seat. Their differences on gun rights couldn’t be more pronounced. 

Kander, F-rated by NRA-PVF, has proven he can’t be trusted on Second Amendment issues. As a state representative, Kander voted no on an NRA-sponsored bill to reduce the minimum age requirement for obtaining a concealed-carry endorsement from 23 years of age to 21. He also voted against a bill to expand Castle Doctrine protections to include self-defense of all property that is owned, leased or rented by an individual.An anti-gun majority in either chamber, combined with a Clinton win, would give gun-banners the freedom to eliminate our gun rights.

In contrast, Blunt has long been a Second Amendment leader in the U.S. Congress, first as a House member and now as a senator. He voted for national concealed-carry reciprocity legislation. He has opposed so-called “universal” background checks; opposed a ban on semi-automatic rifles and standard capacity magazines; and opposed the U.N. gun-ban treaty. In addition, he signed a letter opposing the Obama administration’s attempt to ban M855 AR-15 ammunition; voted for legislation to protect American gun makers from frivolous lawsuits; and voted to prohibit gun confiscation during states of emergency, as happened after Hurricane Katrina.

Missouri gun owners have a great friend in Blunt.  

Anti-gun former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold is attempting to win back the Senate seat he lost six years ago to pro-gun U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson. 

Johnson is a strong supporter of national Right-to-Carry; opposes so-called “universal” background checks; and is against banning semi-automatic rifles and standard capacity magazines. Johnson also opposes the U.N. gun-ban treaty and voted for legislation to preserve veterans’ Second Amendment-protected rights. He also signed a letter to the Obama administration opposing its flagrant attempt to ban commonly used M855 ammunition.

In contrast, Feingold voted for both of President Barack Obama’s anti-gun nominees for the U.S. Supreme Court—Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. He also voted for a ban on magazines that hold more than 10 rounds; voted for legislation to effectively eliminate gun shows; and voted against one of the most important pro-gun measures ever passed in the U.S. Congress—the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, or PLCAA.

Further, Feingold voted for Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s failed semi-automatic ban as well as a bill to implement a mandatory five-day government waiting period before purchasing a handgun.

While Feingold will surely try to portray himself as a friend of the Second Amendment, the choice for Wisconsin gun owners is Johnson.  

North Carolina:
Voters have a clear choice in this year’s Senate election, with long-time Second Amendment supporter Sen. Richard Burr being challenged by NRA F-rated Deborah Ross.

This fall’s important Senate and House elections put into perspective the fact that all NRA members and other law-abiding gun owners must cast their vote for freedom in November.Ross spent a decade in the N.C. Legislature working against the interests of law-abiding gun owners and the Second Amendment. She voted against our right to carry on numerous occasions, including voting against a bill to eliminate prohibited places where a person may lawfully carry. In addition, she opposed a bill providing for reciprocity agreements with other states and opposed protecting permittee information from invasions of privacy. She also voted against Castle Doctrine legislation and a bill to allow the use of suppressors while hunting. 

Not only has she opposed pro-gun measures, Ross has a history of voting for anti-gun legislation, including a Bloomberg-backed bill to criminalize the failure to report lost and stolen firearms and a bill to create a firearm owner registry at the state level.  

Burr, on the other hand, has a proven record of support for our firearm freedom. He opposed the creation of so-called “universal” background checks; opposed the denial of Second Amendment-protected rights for those on secret government lists; and opposed Obama’s anti-gun Supreme Court nominees Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.  

Burr also voted for the PLCAA; for a bill to require concealed-carry reciprocity for permit holders; and has been the lead sponsor of legislation to protect veterans’ Second Amendment-protected rights against repeated abuse from the Obama administration. 

In North Carolina, the choice is clear. Burr should be supported and returned to the Senate to continue his work on behalf of our Second Amendment freedoms. 

In the Buckeye State, anti-gun former Gov. Ted Strickland is challenging NRA A-rated Sen. Rob Portman. Prior to running for U.S. Senate, Strickland was president of an anti-gun Washington, D.C., lobbying group that supports, among other things: centralizing records of Americans’ long gun purchases; mandatory permits for possession of semi-automatic firearms; lawsuits to bankrupt America’s firearms industry; and a policy to strip veterans of their Second Amendment rights without due process.

Strickland supports the Obama/Clinton/Bloomberg so-called “universal” background check scheme that would criminalize the private transfer of firearms which, according to the Obama Justice Department, is enforceable only through a federal registry of firearms. He has also expressed his support for a ban on semi-automatic rifles.

Portman, on the other hand, is a strong pro-gun vote in the Senate. He has voted for national Right-to-Carry reciprocity legislation and against a ban on semi-automatic rifles and standard capacity magazines. He also opposes so-called “universal” background checks; the U.N. gun-ban treaty; and any attempt to repeal the PLCAA. And he joined the effort against the Obama administration’s attempt to ban common rifle ammunition.  

Ohio gun owners should support Portman in November. 

Nevada gun owners have an opportunity to make a significant upgrade in the U.S. Senate race this year.In truth, the future of the Second Amendment is just one vote away from a descent into irrelevance—and it’s your vote.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is not running for re-election this year, which puts his all-important seat up for grabs. This race will pit Democrat anti-gun former state Attorney General Catherine Cortez-Masto against Republican A-rated U.S. Rep. Joe Heck.

Cortez-Masto is no friend of the Second Amendment or of Nevada’s law-abiding gun owners. In 2015, she led the testimony against campus carry legislation in the state legislature. Amanda Collins, who has a permit to carry concealed and who was raped in a University of Nevada, Reno, parking garage, testified by Skype in the Assembly Judiciary Committee hearing on the campus carry measure. “All I wanted was a chance to effectively defend myself,” Collins said. “That choice should not be mandated by the government.” 

But Cortez-Masto, who at the time served as the executive vice chancellor for the higher education system, opposed the bill, calling it “a solution in search of a problem.” 

Cortez-Masto has also come out in favor of so-called “universal” background checks; supports denying Second Amendment-protected rights with no due process for those who have been placed on secret government lists; and praised Obama for his executive actions on gun control.  

Heck, on the other hand, is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. While in the U.S. House of Representatives, he voted for the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act; the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreation Enhancement Bill; and legislation that would comprehensively protect the right to interstate transportation of firearms and ammunition for law-abiding gun owners.

Heck also signed multiple letters opposing the U.N. Gun Ban treaty; co-sponsored a bill to protect the Second Amendment-protected rights of millions of law-abiding Social Security beneficiaries; and voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress on both criminal and civil charges for covering up the tragic Fast and Furious scandal. 

New Hampshire:
In New Hampshire, NRA A-rated Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte is being challenged by F-rated Gov. Maggie Hassan. Ayotte’s reliable votes for gun rights have come under fire from Hassan, who wants to make her own support for anti-gun measures an election-year issue. As with the other races detailed in this article, the choice for gun owners is clear.

As a state senator, Hassan voted against Castle Doctrine legislation, then voted against a veto override attempt on the same measure. Last year, she vetoed a permitless carry bill, despite broad support for the bill in the legislature. Hassan has also spoken in favor of legislation banning semi-automatic rifles, despite the fact that such rifles are used by violent criminals in only a tiny percentage of crimes and are the most popular type of rifle in the country.  

Ayotte, on the other hand, has been a consistent supporter of our Second Amendment freedoms. She voted for national Right-to-Carry reciprocity legislation, which would ensure that law-abiding Americans can carry concealed in any state that allows concealed carry. She has opposed so-called “universal” background check legislation; a semi-automatic rifle ban; and a ban on standard-capacity magazines. 

In addition, Ayotte signed a letter to the Obama administration opposing its attempt to ban M855 rifle ammunition commonly used in AR-15 type rifles; voted for legislation to protect veterans’ Second Amendment rights; and voted against a measure that would deny persons on secret government lists their right to purchase firearms without due process. 

The choice for gun owners in this race is clear. That choice is Ayotte.

Holding The House:
Of course, retaining a pro-gun rights majority in the U.S. House of Representatives is no less important than in the Senate. Where many gun-ban bills originate, the House is key to blocking bad bills introduced there, and keeping the Senate in check if an anti-gun majority were to take over that chamber.  

Critical House seats are too numerous to run down in this limited space. But just as in the Senate, pro-gun rights congressmen currently hold a razor-thin margin in the House. That could change quickly if gun owners don’t unite and mobilize now.

As the election nears, gun owners should check the NRA-ILA website to learn more about the Second Amendment views of the House candidates in their respective districts.

This fall’s important Senate and House elections put into perspective the fact that all NRA members and other law-abiding gun owners must cast their vote for freedom in November. Losing the White House to another Clinton administration would represent a giant setback for the Second Amendment. Add in an anti-gun majority in the Senate, and the Supreme Court could be lost for a generation. Toss in U.S. House of Representatives run by anti-gunners, and gun-banners would have carte blanche to pass any restrictive schemes they choose, have them signed into law by the president and then confirmed by the highest court in the land.

In truth, the future of the Second Amendment is just one vote away from a descent into irrelevance—and it’s your vote.


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