The Midterm Election and Second Amendment Freedom

by
posted on November 17, 2022
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Todd Van Hoosear courtesy Flickr

Just after the midterm election, an AP reporter asked President Joe Biden (D) what he’ll do differently in the last two years of his term. Biden said, “nothing.”

“Nothing, because they’re just finding out what we’re doing,” the president said.

Just finding out?

We know Biden wants to ban popular semi-automatic firearms—he even again promised to do this right before the midterm election.

We know Biden wants to ban so-called “high-capacity” magazines—according to him, these could be any magazine that holes 10 rounds, or perhaps eight.

We know Biden nonsensically wants to ban the 9 mm handgun, even though it is easily the most-popular centerfire pistol caliber sold today—Biden said, “A 9 mm bullet blows the lung out of the body. So the idea that these high-caliber weapons is of—there’s simply no rational basis for it in terms of thinking about self-protection, hunting. I mean, I just—and remember, the Constitution, the Second Amendment was never absolute … .”

We know Biden wants to repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) so that activists can again use frivolous lawsuits to sue firearms manufactures into bankruptcy. We know a lot more about Biden’s thoughts on our rights, but let’s stop there; instead let’s take a look at what the midterm elections wrought and, therefore, what Biden might be able to do in the last two years of his term.

Some Very Anti-Freedom Candidates Won

First, it must be said that November’s midterm election was hardly a referendum on the Second Amendment—polling consistently showed the issues related to guns were not foremost on a majority of voters’ minds—still, our freedom was effectively on the ballot; after all, if a slim majority of senators kills the upper chamber’s filibuster rules, then only the U.S. House of Representatives could stop a 51-seat majority in the Senate, or a 50-50 tie broken by Vice President Kamala Harris (D), from imperiling our rights.

With that said, perhaps the most anti-Second Amendment politician who won in the midterm election was New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D).

Since New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court last June, New York has been the field of play which other anti-Second Amendment legislators are watching (even copying).

Gov. Hochul responded to the ruling with the clearly unconstitutional “Concealed Carry Improvement Act.” She called an “extraordinary” session of the New York State Assembly and Senate last summer to pass a sweeping new list of gun-control laws that deems just about everywhere in the state to be a “Sensitive” area where armed citizens can’t carry their firearms if they have a permit to do so. Those “applying” for their rights must also provide a licensing officer with four character references and “a list of former and current social media accounts of the applicant from the past three years,” so officials can check each person’s moral character—whatever that means. This law is undergoing various legal challenges with the NRA’s elgal team leading the way.

Despite this affront to a civil right, Hochul won. Still, her opponent, Lee Zeldin, came closer to winning a statewide race in New York than any recent Republican has; Zeldin lost by about 5% in a state in which registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than two to one; to put it another way, there are about 3.6 million more registered Democrats than Republicans in New York state, but Zeldin only lost by about 330,000 votes.

Zeldin’s support should make Gov. Hochul understand that she needs to do something real about rising crime rates. But when asked just after the election, Gov. Hochul “offered only a progressive bromide: a crackdown on ‘illegal guns’ that aren’t the root of the crime problem,” wrote The Wall Street Journal in an editorial.

Actually, Hochul’s views are much more extreme than this. “If they’re going to say they are tough on crime and soft on guns, that doesn’t add up,” said Gov. Hochul not long before the election. Despite all the crime data showing the opposite to be true, Hochul somehow believes that normal, law-abiding armed citizens are the cause of crime. This is ideological self-delusion—or maybe it is just too deliciously politically convenient for the goals of politicians like Biden and Hochul—and it is frightening; consider that, incredibly, in Gov Hochul’s remarks after her win, there was no mention of funding police to make up for mass retirements, or reversing the “bail reform” that has allowed so many criminals to simply walk out of jail just after being arrest for violent crimes. She said nothing about the George Soros-backed district attorneys who have opted to not prosecute violent criminals when she could literally fire the worst of them. Like Biden, she wants nothing to change despite the horrifying results of these policies.

Despite Zeldin’s loss, however, his strong, tough-on-crime positions in a state reeling from surging violent crime did help his party pick up four seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Seats that, as this was being written, look to be decisive in giving control of the U.S. House of Representatives to Republicans.

Meanwhile, New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) also won. James has attempted to use her office to dissolve the NRA. James doesn’t believe that gun owners should have their First Amendment right to association. Her win will embolden some anti-Second Amendment legislators.

Other very anti-freedom politicians also won some close races. Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) avoided talking about his anti-Second Amendment positions during his campaign; the fact that he largely got away with this tactic is certainly part of the reason why he won a very close race in Arizona.

In New Hampshire, Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) was endorsed by the gun-control group Giffords, but she preferred to speak about abortion, not guns. She won a closely watched election against a previously unknown candidate.

In Pennsylvania, John Fetterman (D) is so committed to passing a list of new gun-control laws that he has dates of “gun violence” tattooed on his arm, yet he won. Again, though, it is not fair to say the Second Amendment played a big part in this race. It was barely talked about in the state and his opposition, Dr. Mehmet Oz (R), was only a new convert to safeguarding this critical freedom.

Also, at press time, Nevada U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) was projected to beat Adam Laxalt (R). Earlier in 2022, Sen. Cortez Masto joined Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and others to reintroduce the “Background Check Expansion Act,” legislation that would turn normal, law-abiding American gun owners into potential felons if they continue to do what gun owners in America have always lawfully done. This legislation could also be used to create a backdoor national gun registry. Despite these positions, she narrowly beat Laxalt, a candidate who would have voted to protect our rights.

This win for Cortez Masto will likely allow Sen. Schumer—who also won reelection—to continue as Majority Leader.

Some Very Anti-Freedom Candidates Lost

The gun-control losers include Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), soon-to-be-former head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Maloney wanted to ban popular semi-automatic firearms and much more. His loss was a surprise to him.

Also, Stacey Abrams (D) lost her latest bid to be governor of Georgia, Beto “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15” O’Rourke lost his bid to be governor of Texas and gun-control proponent Charlie Crist (D) lost by double-digits (nearly 20 points) when he tried to unseat Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in Florida. All three losers of these races did make gun-control into a very known part of their campaigns.

Despite the fact that many of the candidates who highlighted their zest for restrictions on law-abiding citizen’s right to keep and bear arms lost, a story on NBC News just after the election declared that “gun control is now a winning issue for Democrats.” The article cited an NBC News exit poll that found that 56% of 2022 voters support strict gun-control measures. “Among the proponents of stricter measures, 76% backed Democratic candidates while 22% favored Republicans, illustrating the salience of the cause of tougher gun laws. It’s a far cry from a decade ago, when Democrats tended to fear sing-issue pro-gun voters would overwhelm gun-control proponents and punish them at the ballot box for pursuing tougher laws against firearms.

Actually, just a few weeks before the midterm election, a New York Times poll determined that gun control wasn’t a priority for 99% of voters; in reality it just wasn’t an issue that was discussed in a lot of races. This hardly gives anti-Second amendment members of Congress who did win a mandate to pass more restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms.

A Lot of Pro-Freedom Candidates Won

In North Carolina, newly elected Sen. Ted Budd (R) won. There was no avoiding the Second Amendment in this race—not that he’d want to—as Budd is one of just two members of Congress who actually owns a gun store (the second is Rep. Andrew Clyde [R-Ga.]). Budd’s opponent, Cheri Beasley (D), had been endorsed by the gun-control group Giffords.

In Ohio, J.D. Vance won. Early in his campaign, Vance said, “I will fight the gun grabbers, whether they’re federal bureaucrats enacting regulations or multinational companies punishing people for exercising their rights.” His opponent, Tim Ryan (D), in contrast, was endorsed by the gun-control group Giffords.

In Wisconsin, Sen. Ron Johnson (R) won. He was attacked by the media in his state for voting against the flawed and rushed “Bipartisan Safer Communities Act." The Wisconsin State Journal, the state’s second-largest newspaper, panned the senator in an editorial titled “Ron Johnson votes against public safety.” That’s simply anti-gun spin, as there were many problems with that legislation. At the time, Sen. Johnson pushed back by saying, “The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act is a classic example of Washington dysfunction. Negotiated by a ‘gang’ with no committee process and no ability to offer amendments, billions in spending … and provisions that ignore constitutional rights.” Sen. Johnson’s race was at least partially about the Second Amendment and he won.

Many other pro-freedom candidates, such as Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), also won. There is much more to say about the aftermath of the midterm election and what it means for the next two years but, as this is was last updated, there were still a few uncalled races. Please check back for more current news and analysis.

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