Will the Midterm Election Turn Congress Back Toward Freedom?

Out of frustration, some gun-control activists have actually been attacking their own candidates—here’s what this and other factors signal about the coming elections.

by
posted on July 24, 2022
U. S. Capitol
zimmytws/istock

We do not know how the midterm elections this Nov. 8 will turn out, but there are plenty of signs that the anti-Second Amendment fervor from the Biden administration, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is grounding out on a massive misunderstanding of the mood and awareness of the American electorate.

The knee-jerk attempt to blame a fundamental freedom law-abiding Americans enjoy—and for which they have fought and died—for a monster’s evil attack on school children isn’t just dishonest, it is disgusting and an all-too-convenient way for politicians like President Joe Biden (D) to push a gun-control agenda. 

Polling puts this in perspective. Ongoing Gallup polling that took place before the appalling event in Texas found that most voters are either generally okay with existing U.S. gun laws or want them to be less strict. Among many questions, Gallup asked: “Are you satisfied with the nation’s gun laws? And if you’re unsatisfied, do you want stricter or looser gun laws?” Only 36% said they were dissatisfied and wanted stricter gun-control laws. A total of 61% were either satisfied (41%), were dissatisfied but wanted less-strict laws (13%) or were dissatisfied and wanted no change (7%).

There is also an enthusiasm gap. A CNN/SSRS poll from earlier this year found that the passion on the gun issue is pro-freedom. CNN, in fact, reported that voters “who said gun policy was one of their top issues were more likely to have backed Donald Trump in 2020 than Joe Biden.”

And, President Biden continues to overreach with odd calls to ban pistols chambered in 9 mm and more. Even many of Biden’s voters have, no doubt, bought semi-automatic 9 mm pistols for self-defense since 2020, which is likely why the White House press secretary quickly walked back this policy desire—this issue clearly will be a part of this midterm’s election.

This takes us to the fundamental claim from Biden that will be on a lot of voter’s minds. The narrative that guns in general, or a lack of new restrictions on Second Amendment rights in particular, are to blame for recent rises in murder rates, simply doesn’t add up. As this affects people wherever they live, it is worth digging into this pivotal claim.

First, Despite the Mainstream Media’s Narratives, the Truth Still Matters
To get a sense of how far President Biden has gotten from reality on this issue, imagine if the Biden administration decided to bring in a surprisingly honest political advisor to explain why their gun-control talking points aren’t exactly working right now. As this scene needs a setting, let’s imagine it taking place in the Oval Office, with President Biden behind his desk in that famed golden room, and all the senators who don’t think you can be trusted with your Second Amendment rights and who are up for reelection in these midterms crowding into seats facing the president.

Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) is there, as are Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the aforementioned Sen. Charles Schumer and others. 

Pacing between the president’s desk and the senators, with all eyes on him, is this oddly honest advisor. The senators all await this advisor’s grim analysis in the hopes it’ll help them write some better talking points.

“Please begin,” says the press secretary, before retreating toward the big white door that leads to a hallway and, finally, to the safety of her office near the press room.

“Well, I’m sorry to say this, Mr. President,” stammers the surprisingly honest advisor, “but as we head toward this important midterm election, our research shows that you can’t blame crime on gun companies or gun stores, as many of the swing voters just aren’t buying it. I mean, they just haven’t seen clips on the news or on social media of gun-store owners being busted because those store owners just aren’t the problem you say they are. Even worse, swing voters, even many who live in the suburbs, don’t believe you when you say this crime wave is being caused by the spread of constitutional carry or concealed carry; that’s just not what’s happening, and they know it. Also, even The Washington Post said you were ‘wrong,’ Mr. President, to claim that the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act shields gun companies from liability claims. You can’t even blame those hot-selling semi-automatic rifles, as independents are becoming aware of how rarely those rifles are used in crimes—millions of those voters even bought semi-automatic rifles and pistols for home-defense. 

“In fact, claims that America’s millions of new gun owners—most of whom say they bought guns to defend themselves—are to blame isn’t polling well either. Blaming NRA members doesn’t even poll well, as people know NRA members are not responsible for these crimes; actually, the NRA’s approval rating is much higher than Congress’ or even your approval rating, Mr. President. People, as it turns out, want their freedom.”

The all-too-honest advisor wants to keep going, but the room explodes in a chorus of politicians all trying to speak at once. They want to know what they should say.

One senator does shout, “So I am just supposed to blame everything on MAGA Republicans?”

The advisor shrugs, turns toward the president and says, “Sorry, Mr. President, but the rise in the homicide rates in so much of America lately wasn’t caused by any of the things you’ve been saying. And, the trouble is, the people know it.”

Okay, that would never happen, but the truth, when it is this clear, is difficult to spin for Biden and the members of the House and Senate who are opposed to your freedom.

incumbent U.S. senators
The incumbent U.S. senators shown here have all been blaming American freedom and law-abiding gun owners for the actions of criminals. Are voters buying this ploy? The polls indicate they are not, as far-left policies are clearly what led to rises in violent-crime rates.


Second, This Clearly Isn’t Just a Messaging Problem
As the humid, dog days of summer bring us ever closer to Labor Day and the loudest part of this campaign season, even the real advisors for those aforementioned politicians must know that former President Barack Obama’s (D) claim that they simply have a “messaging problem” is false.

A lot of polling is showing that much of the American public is aware that the policies of the woke far Left—cashless bail, prisoner releases during the pandemic, defund-the-police resource reallocations, far-left district attorneys who are not interested in prosecuting armed criminals, orders from local officials for the police to stand back as rioters ran amok—are to blame for the rise in the national homicide rate.

Freedom is difficult for any gun-control-supporting politician to talk around. This is why so many of them claim to be for this freedom.

A deeper dive into the polls does show that Republicans are more likely to blame defund-the-police and the other policies mentioned above than registered Democrats are. But then there are other polls showing that a lot of people—not just Republicans—share this view; for example, a February 2022 Politico/Morning Consult poll of about 2,000 registered voters, found that 75% of voters thought “defunding of police departments” is “a reason that violent crime is increasing in the United States.”

A closer look at the numbers also shows things like what an ongoing Gallup trends poll found when they measured the percentage of Americans who say they carry a gun for self-defense. In October 2021, an astounding 23% of people polled said they carry a firearm for self-defense. When Gallup had previously asked this question (in 2007), 12% said they did; in fact, that number had been static at 11% or 12% since 2000. Part of the reason for this is that 25 states have now gotten bureaucrats out of the way of law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment right to carry a gun for self-defense.

Third, Even the Gun-Control Groups are Noticing a Shift
The gun-control groups have also noticed that the thin majorities held by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi are in danger; in fact, a few gun-control activists have become so frustrated they publicly ridiculed politicians they’d previously supported.

Last spring, David Hogg and other activists with the gun-control group March For Our Lives even dropped body bags outside Sen. Schumer’s New York office.

They did this to protest Schumer’s inability to push gun-control legislation through the U.S. Senate. This is no small thing, as it’s not hyperbole to say there isn’t a single gun-control law being talked about today for which Schumer wouldn’t vote.

For the first time, March For Our Lives even backed primary challenges to incumbents they helped get elected; like their trouble with Schumer, they did this because these elected officials didn’t or couldn’t push gun-control legislation through Congress, or at least did not try to with enough zeal to satisfy these activists.

This criticism coming from gun-control groups even targeted President Biden. The 2020 Biden campaign was supported with millions of dollars from anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg and was endorsed by every major anti-gun group. Those groups expected a fast and big return on their investments. They did get executive orders, anti-Second Amendment rhetoric—including some whoppers so big they drew criticism from fact-checkers in media outlets that are typically very kind to Biden—and anti-freedom nominees put forward to run the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), but they didn’t get gun bans, magazine bans, a national gun registry, mandates to force people who want to purchase a gun to buy some nonexistent “smart gun” or any of the other massive infringements on which Biden campaigned.

March for Our Lives, in fact, expected so many gun restrictions from a Biden presidency they published their own list of demands shortly after Biden took office. Much of the list was what you’d expect, but one demand targeted the NRA. They demanded that the Biden administration instruct the IRS to “open an investigation into the tax-exempt nonprofit status of the NRA, and direct the FEC to investigate whether the NRA has broken campaign-finance laws.”

When they didn’t get what they wanted, March for Our Lives partnered with two other anti-gun organizations—Guns Down America and Change the Ref—to create a new website called Shock Market: Tracking Gun Violence Losses Under Biden. The tracking of the statistics on Shock Market begins with Biden’s inauguration and refers to “gun deaths and injuries reach[ing] crisis levels across the country.” This seems to imply that March for Our Lives is blaming Biden, as they allege “Biden has fallen far short of the gun-violence reform he promised during his campaign … .”

Now, as is often the case with gun-control organizations, this website’s data is hardly trustworthy. Actually, its data is mostly repackaged material from other anti-gun groups, such as at the Gun Violence Archive. But the fact that they’re pointing this accusation at the Biden administration, which is arguably the most anti-Second Amendment administration America has ever seen, says a lot about their eat-their-own desperation as they watch the polls before a pivotal midterm election.

defund police protestors

Fourth, The Mainstream Media’s Big Fake Narrative is Clearly Weak
It’s true that in 2020 and 2021, violent crime of all types—not just those crimes that also involve someone using a firearm—largely went up in the U.S. While many of Biden’s policies, and state and local elected officials in his party, appear culpable, at least in part, Biden’s inability to enact new gun-control laws, despite what the leadership at March for Our Lives thinks, is clearly not to blame. But this is exactly what these gun-control activists want voters to believe.

The first problem with their core claim that a lack of new gun-control laws is to blame is that it ignores the fact that gun sales and the number of Americans who carry concealed have been rising for decades as the NRA has fought state by state, and in federal courts, to get the government out of the way of our freedom protected under the Second Amendment; at the same time, violent-crime rates were largely falling nationally until 2020. Clearly, it is disingenuous to blame gun sales when the sales figures don’t correlate over time with the crime figures.

Also, why would a lack of new gun-control laws suddenly result in more criminal behavior? It doesn’t add up. Clearly, what did change was we had a pandemic and riots and the criminal justice policy changes previously mentioned.

So, though President Biden, the leadership at March for Our Lives and other anti-gun groups, and many in the mainstream media want to get traction for the narrative that a lack of new gun-control laws caused crime to spike, the data and common sense show this to be fake news.

Still, here’s how an Associated Press article that was picked up by newspapers across the country last April summed up this false gun-control narrative:

The struggle for the Biden administration and Democrats in Congress to enact any meaningful legislation to enhance gun safety reflects how the party’s ambitious agenda has been frustratingly stunted by internal squabbling, the persistence of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. The almost complete Republican opposition to Democratic priorities, including gun rules, has hobbled a party with razor-thin majorities in the House and Senate.

But that’s little solace to gun safety advocates and tens of thousands of shooting victims who were told Democrats would reduce gun violence if given the chance to govern. In an already difficult election year, the inaction threatens to further undermine the coalition of young people, women, voters of color and independents who helped deliver Joe Biden the presidency in 2020 and will be needed again if Democrats are to hold control of Congress.

“I’m just angry,” said David Hogg … .

The AP’s use of “gun safety” as a synonym for “gun control”—as if they were referring to muzzle control, treating every gun as if it were loaded, and so on—shows AP was conforming to the gun-control groups’ focus-group-tested language to push a false narrative.

This narrative blames Ukraine, COVID, internal squabbling and the minority party for the Biden administration’s failure to reduce violence. It thereby neatly steps around all of the policies that have likely caused violent-crime rates to rise. It also pretends, by insinuation, that guns are to blame. In an attempt to stay intact, this narrative doesn’t just ignore the policies from the far Left, but also all of the crime data and polls telling us why more people have been buying guns in order to somehow sound believable to any voter who just doesn’t have the time to look into the complex matter.

The thing is, even basic questions dispel this false narrative.

Would any of Biden’s preferred gun-control policies have reduced crime? So-called “universal” background-check laws don’t stop criminals, as criminals who want guns mostly steal them or otherwise obtain them illegally.

How about repealing the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA)? This would allow groups, local governments and more to sue firearms manufacturers and dealers for the actions of criminals, which certainly would financially imperil gun makers and dealers, but it would not stop criminals from getting guns or committing crimes.

Would banning popular semi-automatic rifles reduce crime? No. The FBI’s “Uniform Crime Reporting Program,” year after year, finds that rifles of all types are used in less than 3% of homicides. Meanwhile, armed citizens’ 21-million-plus AR-type rifles are often kept for self-defense.

Such is why even the craftiest minds in The Washington Post or The Daily Beast can’t cram plausibility into the narrative that legal gun sales, concealed carry and the millions of new gun owners who’ve mostly bought guns for self-defense are causing a crime wave; especially when defund- and blame-the-police policies did get a lot of national attention and did lead to actual reductions in police budgets in New York City, Chicago and other locales where violent crime has skyrocketed.

Still, the Outcome of the Midterms Depends On This
A central problem with ideological media narratives, such as the gun-control groups’ talking points, is that plain facts easily unravel them. Before long, you get President Biden out there reading such whoppers off a teleprompter that even mainstream-news fact checkers are forced to call his claims false or misleading.

The desire for freedom, in contrast, isn’t an ideology. It’s a philosophy, which is why it is open; it begs us to investigate; it requires us to think, to find solutions; it is, thus, empowering; it is even liberal in the dictionary’s definition of the word. Freedom is what America’s Founders gave us and spelled out simply and profoundly in the U.S. Bill of Rights.

Freedom is also easy to explain. It isn’t easily tangled in narratives, as freedom rises above narratives. It is clear and simple. Freedom is difficult for a gun-control-supporting politician to talk around. This is why so many anti-Second Amendment politicians nevertheless claim they are actually for the Second Amendment. They know they’ll lose a lot of voters if they directly attack a basic American freedom, so they try to sound reasonable in hopes of convincing what the late Rush Limbaugh used to call “low-information voters.”

This is where freedom-loving Americans come in. Elections are rarely about one issue. There are many local and national issues at play. Voters are moved by different causes and emotions and they are voting for candidates whose personalities can help or hinder them. But, with law and order still such big issues in this midterm election, and given that the gun-control groups’ false narrative that freedom is to blame is so provably untrue, this election could help safeguard our Second Amendment freedoms.

Of course, for that to happen, pro-Second Amendment voters need to turn out, and they need to explain to any open-minded person that freedom is at stake in this election. To help, consider volunteering. Go to NRA-ILA.org/grassroots to see what you can do. Also, check out and share the nonpartisan NRA Grades and Endorsements (NRAPVF.org/grades) for politicians. To keep up with changes and issues, sign up for NRA Grassroots Alerts (NRAILA.org/grassroots-alerts). This association wins battles for our freedom because of its active membership.

In the next few issues, we’ll break down the issues and highlight the most-pivotal elections in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

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