2021 was a busy year for all things Second Amendment related. Here is a look back at 10 of the most noteworthy events—good and bad—as we start off into 2022. Looking back is important, as it can show what’s coming.
10. The NRA turned 150.
Founded in 1871 by Civil War veterans Gen. George Wingate and Col. William Conant Church, the NRA has led the way on protecting our Second Amendment freedoms since its inception.
“The NRA has diligently protected our right to keep and bear arms longer than any other organization,” said now former NRA President Carolyn Meadows.
For a century and a half, the NRA has been at the tip of the spear in teaching about marksmanship and gun safety, fighting for your constitutional rights in the courts and legislatures, and much more.
As former NRA President David Keene aptly wrote for America’s 1st Freedom, “The NRA’s founders in 1871 may not have foreseen the political importance of the organization they created, but we owe them our gratitude because, without the NRA, America today would not be the nation they wanted to pass down to succeeding generations.”
To commemorate this momentous occasion, NRA publications released To Keep & Bear Freedom, a celebration of the NRA’s 150-year history.
9. Anti-Gunners Declared Runs for Office (Again)
Every election cycle has a fair amount of anti-gun politicians that run for office, but last year saw a few prominent ones announce their intent to run for office, despite having failed previously (and in some cases, multiple times).
Perhaps most notable amongst the failed anti-gun candidates willing to once again campaign on this failing message is Robert “Beto” O’Rourke. Despite having failed in both his senatorial and presidential bids, O’Rourke has now turned his focus to the governorship of Texas.
O’Rourke, you’ll remember, famously said, “Hell, yes, we’re going to take away your AR-15,” during his presidential bid. It should be noted that his campaign took a nosedive shortly after this proclamation.
Joining him in a gubernatorial bid is another failed anti-gun candidate, Stacey Abrams of Georgia. Despite losing in 2018, she is once again running to be governor, and with her come a host of proposed anti-Second Amendment policies. These include bans on AR-15-style firearms, “universal” background checks, “red-flag” laws, and more.
8. The CDC Came for the Second Amendment
COVID-19 has become a part of our daily lives, but, curiously, anti-Second Amendment politicians called on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to study something else. They want the CDC to study what they dishonestly, yet deliberately, call an “epidemic of gun violence.”
A handful of members of congress wrote to president Biden, demanding that he appoint an anti-Second Amendment czar to enforce their agenda. As this was being written, Biden has not yet done this, but there are still powerful figures attempting to further his agenda outside of the normal pathways.
Biden’s CDC director, Rochelle Walensky, actually said, “Something has to be done about [illegal shootings]. Now is the time—it’s pedal to the metal time.” Though she later claimed to not be speaking about gun control, history tells us that the agency is more than wliling to use its muscle to dictate how Americans protect themselves.
7. Gun Ownership Continued to Soar
The year prior to 2021 might’ve smashed every record possible when it comes to firearms sales, but last year kept the trend going and, to date, it’s showing little sign of stopping.
Month after month, gun-sales data shows that an impressive number of background checks are being conducted for the purchases of firearms. Perhaps even more noteworthy is the fact that nearly half of these first-time gun owners are women.
6. Manufacturers on the Move
Like the growing number of firearms owners, this trend is not exclusive to last year alone, but 2021 saw a growing number of manufacturers depart states that simply do not respect our Second Amendment Rights.
Most noteworthy were Smith & Wesson’s announcement that it would be departing Massachusetts for Tennessee and Remington’s plans to relocate from New York to Georgia. Massachusetts and New York are not overly friendly towards the Second Amendment. In fact, many would say they are openly hostile to our right to keep and bear arms. In response, these manufacturers are moving to states that take the opposite approach.
In the case of Smith & Wesson specifically, the company cited proposed legislation that, if enacted, would prohibit the company and others from manufacturing specific types of firearms in The Empire State. This is far from the only example of this, and we’ve detailed this trend heavily.
5. The Anti-Gun Administration
Last year saw the beginning of Joe Biden as president and Kamala Harris as vice president. The two ran on the most anti-gun ticket in history, and now they’re in charge of the executive branch.
The list of their attacks on the Second Amendment is long, and we’ve detailed the numerous anti-gun actions of this administration, but there are a few that stand out in particular. Chief among these are their desire to blame manufacturers for the acts of criminals, repeated lies about firearms and those who own them, the nomination of multiple anti-gunners—including Merrick Garland as attorney general—and more.
4. Victory for Freedom in Virginia
In a big win for freedom, two NRA-endorsed candidates won statewide office in Virginia. Winsome Sears and Jason Miyares won their races for lieutenant governor and attorney general, respectively.
“Jason Miyares and Winsome Sears are strong advocates for the Second Amendment and are committed to protecting our fundamental right to keep and bear arms,” said Jason Ouimet, NRA-ILA executive director. “They will not allow law-abiding gun owners to be used as a scapegoat for criminals and gun control.”
Those were not the only wins, as former Gov. Terry McAuliffe was defeated in his bid to once again be governor of the Old Dominion. Should he have won, McAuliffe would have surely built upon the anti-gun actions of Gov. Ralph Northam and the anti-gun legislature that acted swiftly just a couple years earlier.
3. Constitutional Carry Spread
Five states enacted some form of constitutional (permitless) carry in 2021, bringing the total number of states with constitutional carry to 21. This is simply astonishing considering that, just over 30 years ago, only one state allowed concealed carry without a permit.
Last year, Iowa, Montana, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah all passed some form of constitutional carry, and this is in no small part thanks to the tireless work of NRA-ILA and NRA members. In short, constitutional carry is spreading and the data is there to back its effectiveness.
“The spread of constitutional carry has clearly shown that American freedom isn’t a problem that needs to be solved. Finding the will and means to better enforce laws targeting criminal behavior, not the freedom of law-abiding citizens, is what’s clearly needed,” previously reported America’s 1st Freedom.
2. The Supreme Court Heard a Critical Second Amendment Case
Last fall, the U.S. Supreme Court heard its first case dealing specifically with firearms in more than a decade. On Nov. 3, the High Court heard New York State Rifle & Pistol Association (NYSRPA) v. Bruen, which challenges New York’s requirement that residents applying for carry permits to exercise their Second Amendment rights demonstrate “proper cause” to do so.
We’ve written at length about the case here at America’s 1st Freedom and, as this is being written, we are awaiting a decision from the Court.
Paul Clement, a former U.S. solicitor general who argued on behalf of NYSRPA, an NRA affiliate, summed it up best when he said, “In a country with the Second Amendment as a fundamental right, simply having more firearms cannot be a problem and can’t be a government interest just to put a cap on … the number of firearms.”
Much like District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) and McDonald v. Chicago (2010) over a decade earlier, the outcome of this case will shape gun rights for years to come. We’ll keep you updated here at A1F.com of any and all developments.
1. David Chipman Defeated
The NRA and its members were crucial to defeating President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), David Chipman. Prior to his nomination, Chipman worked for various anti-gun groups and made clear that he was no friend of the Second Amendment.
During his committee hearing, Chipman echoed much of Biden’s anti-gun agenda, including support for bans on popular rifles and plans to regulate currently owned firearms under the National Firearms Act.
Ultimately, his nomination was withdrawn in September. “For now, gun owners can rest assured the most immediate threat to their rights has been defeated, and gun control proponents have suffered a huge setback,” said Jason Ouimet, NRA-ILA executive director. This nomination was defeated in no small part thanks to the work of the NRA and its millions of members who voiced their opposition to Chipman.
Here’s to 2022.