The elections are almost upon us, and activist gun owners are looking at the possibility of fundamentally transforming the composition of the U.S. Senate by switching the majority party to the Republicans. While support by individual GOP incumbents and candidates at times runs counter to the interests of Second Amendment advocates, there is no question that, as a whole, the Democrats, with a central component in their platform calling for “strengthening our background check system [and] commonsense improvements—like reinstating the assault weapons ban and closing the gun show loophole,” is the party of “gun control.”
Not surprisingly, the gun issue figures prominently in key Senate races. There are six of them Republicans need to capture in order to gain a majority and oust Harry Reid from his position of power.
“Senate control looks tantalizingly close for the GOP, but Democrats still have a fair chance to hold the line,” National Journal advises. Listing the states by order of likelihood of being flipped, the political publication further notes that after the top three, “the GOP appears to have smaller advantages.”
Those six states are Montana, West Virginia, South Dakota, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Alaska. While states listed after those may flip, they go from “pure toss-ups” to races favoring the incumbent party.
So what do “gun voters” need to know?
With current Senator John Walsh deciding not to run in Montana, the choice should be an easy one for gun owners, with Republican Steve Daines getting an “A+” grade along with an endorsement from NRA’s Political Victory Fund, and Democrat candidate Amanda Curtis being dismissed with an “F.” While Big Sky Country has previously been very supportive of Democrats, they were all of the type that passed themselves off as “pro-gun,” and an anti-gun position should not play well with an electorate that values firearms freedoms.
West Virginia pits Republican Shelly Moore Capito, with an “A” grade and NRA-PVF endorsement, against “C” -rated Democrat Natalie Tennant. While Tennant claims “My whole life there has never been a question of my support for the Second Amendment,” evidently her answers on NRA’s questionnaire left plenty. Still, her making a special point of attempting to present her Second Amendment bona fides shows the importance of gun rights in this race.
In South Dakota, former Governor and GOP candidate Mike Rounds is also “A”-rated and endorsed by NRA-PVF. His opponents, Democrat Rick Weiland, and Independent Larry Pressler are each assigned an “F.” While the effects of the vote split are unknown, outside interests and a Democrat ad blitz are forcing the Republicans to spend money where they had anticipated being secure, making committed gun owner involvement crucial.
Louisiana presents a special challenge. Incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu has been given a “D” by NRA-PVF. That said, the race is being hotly contested on the Republican side, with Bill Cassidy getting the endorsement nod and an “A+” grade, while additional GOP candidates Rob Maness and Thomas Clements each earned “AQ” grades based on answering NRA’s questionnaire. The split between the “conservative” Maness and the “establishment” Cassidy will result in a runoff if no candidate gets over 50 percent of the vote, and, per The Washington Times, is “raising questions about whether the tea party insurgency will cost Republicans a winnable seat.”
The race in Arkansas, between “A”-rated and endorsed Republican Tom Cotton and incumbent Democrat Mark Pryor with a “B-” rating, is leaning gun owners’ way largely due to the unpopularity of how national Democrat policies have played out in the state. Still, Pryor’s tepid grade may be enough for some union member gun owners, who are primarily hunters and sport shooters, as opposed to gun rights activists. This looks to be a case where it will pay to emphasize that Gun Owners of America gives the sitting senator a “D.”
Another incumbent Democrat GOA gives a “D” to is Alaska’s Mark Begich, contrasting sharply with NRA-PVF’s baffling “A-” grade. What that effectively does is give Begich cover with gun owners. What it does not do is hold him properly accountable for his votes to confirm anti-gun justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, even though NRA members were promised those votes would be scored. Merely withholding an endorsement hardly seems enough of a political retaliation for those betrayals, particularly considering numerous other votes and positions Begich has taken, like supporting Harry Reid’s “nuclear option,” that should make him unacceptable to any gun owner who cares about his rights.
It’s such confirmation votes, and particularly the dangers they pose to the future of gun rights as recognized by the Supreme Court, that make flipping the Senate to the Republicans of vital interest to all gun owners. Recall that both Heller and McDonald were 5 to 4 decisions, and the addition of just one more anti-gun judge would produce opposite rulings.
“I’ve never seen it this close,” NRA Institute for Legislative Action Executive Director Chris W. Cox declared in a fundraising email. “Every poll shows us within striking distance of knocking anti-gun Senator Harry Reid out of his Majority Leadership position — and replacing him, Chuck Schumer and Dick Durbin with a pro-Second Amendment majority.
“But it will all come down to just a few percentage points in a handful of races on November 4,” Cox continued. “[Y]our response to this request will decide whether your Second Amendment rights have a fighting chance to survive the final two years of Barack Obama’s presidency. I’m asking YOU to help elect a Congress that will STAND AND FIGHT against Barack Obama’s anti-gun, anti-freedom agenda…”
True enough. That’s why gun owners need to get involved and do more than vote. They need to do everything in their power to make Democrats the minority party in the Senate.
And the Democrats know it. That’s why they’re doing desperate moves, like Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky, unrated by NRA-PVF, meaning she never returned their questionnaire to put what she actually believes in on record. Despite being unwilling to offer anything other than nebulous non-specifics, she’s trying to position herself as a gun supporter by showing off her skeet shooting ability, as if Barack Obama himself hasn’t tried the same ploy.
It’s an old trick. John Kerry pulled that stunt in his 2004 campaign for president, making sure everyone saw him hunting geese, and Bill Clinton did the same thing with ducks. It’s all part of an effort to divide the gun vote, counting on many gun owners and most Americans not knowing where the “sporting purposes” concept used in so many “gun control” edicts originated.
If being proficient with a firearm is all that’s needed to convince some of us that a candidate is “pro-gun,” the Democrats could do worse than running Ruby Ridge FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi for office. The important thing to keep in mind is, in every state except for those hopelessly controlled by Democrats, candidates in both parties find it advantageous to appeal to gun voters, as opposed to Demanding Moms. Wherever they enjoy an unchallengeable majority, Democrats drop all pretenses and go after the guns.
It’s past time to end that majority in the United States Senate.
Will you get out and vote this mid-term election day?