NSSF: State Election Results Jumbled for Firearms

State map of midterm election results

Everyone has that kitchen drawer. That’s the one where a book of matches, take-out menus, extra cell-phone power cords, pet treats, a pack of gum, and a hammer are kept. That is, of course, if you could only find them under the rest of the junk in there.

That’s sort of what our state-by-state landscape looks like when it comes to firearms legislation after this week’s midterm elections. It’s ugly, but if you dig, there’s something worth finding.

By Larry Keane


Seven states will see new Democratic governors in the New Year. Those include Illinois Democrat J.B. Pritzker (Campaigned saying there would not be a safe place for the NRA in Illinois), who defeated Republican Bruce Rauner and Kansas Democrat Laura Kelly, who beat Kris Kobach. Michigan Democrat Gretchen Whitmer came out on top over Republican Bill Schuette. Meanwhile, in Maine, Janet Mills topped Republican Shawn Moody. Nevada Democrat Steve Sisolak ran away with the election over Republican Adam Laxalt and, in New Mexico, Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham bested Republican Steve Pearce. Wisconsin Democrat Tony Evers eked out a win over out Republican Scott Walker.

State map of midterm election results
Much of the fight on gun rights is happening in the states. Take, for instance, the ban on modern sporting rifles.

Going into the election, there were 36 gubernatorial races, with 16 held by Democrats, 33 by Republicans and one by an independent. That split is now 23 for Democrats and 25 for Republicans. In one remaining race, Georgia’s Republican Brian Kemp declared victory over Democrat Stacey Abrams, who isn’t conceding, saying the race is still undecided. Kemp holds a slight lead and if it is less than one-half a percent, it will be headed for a recount.

What it Means

Things got even tougher, even in states where it was already tough. California elected Democrat Gavin Newsom, who campaigned on a platform that some of the strictest gun laws in the country weren’t strict enough. Illinois’ Gov. Rauner has signed restrictive legislation in the past, but he’s also vetoed some bills that would have been disastrous for the firearms industry and gun owners.


We all know, though, that governors don’t make gun laws by themselves. Those originate in the statehouses and 46 states held contests for more than 6,000 seats. Six chambers in state capitols flipped from Republican to Democratic control in Connecticut, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota and New Hampshire. Democrats in New York have had a numerical advantage for some time, but that state’s Senate was controlled by a coalition of Republicans.

Still, Republicans maintained hold of 62 of the 99 state legislatures (Nebraska’s is unicameral and nonpartisan). Those included races in Arizona, Florida, Minnesota, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin that were held by less than 10 seats.

What it Means

Much of the fight on gun rights is happening in the states. Take, for instance, the ban on modern sporting rifles. The federal ban expired in 2004, but since, California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York banned the most popular selling rifle. These states also outlawed standard capacity magazines for modern sporting rifles and some handguns, as did Colorado and Vermont.

Ballot Initiatives

Ballot initiatives make it even more difficult to predict the future of firearms-related legislation in the individual states. Voters in the Washington state voted to pass the I-1639 ballot initiative, putting Washington on par with California, Massachusetts, and Hawaii as having some of the most restrictive firearm laws in the nation. A few of the many requirements imposed by I-1639 are: raising the minimum age to purchase a semi-automatic firearm from 18 to 21, creating new background check requirements, mandatory training requirements for gun purchases and new storage requirements for law-abiding gun owners.

But all wasn’t bad news. North Carolina voters approved state constitutional protection for hunting and fishing, backed by NSSF and other sportsmen and conservation organizations that ensured this heritage for future generations. North Carolina becomes the 22nd state to constitutionally protect hunting and fishing.

More to Come

We’re still sifting through all the results. Tune in when NSSF hosts webinars on what the midterm election results mean to our industry and what we can expect. You can know this much: NSSF will remain engaged, fighting against legislation that hurts our industry and that infringes on our rights while working to make America safer while respecting our liberties.

Did your state move to more pro-gun or anti-gun with the midterm elections? Share your state and answer in the comment section.

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Comments (33)

  1. In January, Illinois will have an anti-gun Governor, Attorney General and Democrat super majority in the legislature.

  2. Please stop Saying “ARMED” March…..Are you out of your mind?!? Supporters of the 2nd Amendment can march without Rifles slinged on their Backs. The Liberals will twist it and try to Make Pro-Gun rights supporters Look Like armed Lunatics. Smfh

    1. Agreed, but some visual sign of what the march stands for is a necessary condition. An AR, even a cardboard one, provides the icon.

  3. An armed demonstration of that size would be construed as a coup dʼétat by Democrats. I’d say issuing obvious card board cutouts of “modern sporting arms” would get the message across.

  4. The election results with voters replacing conservatives with those wanting socialism and abolition of the second amendment perfectly illustrates how society is becoming dumber with each generation. Average IQ of the population is 99-100 but the number of low IQ people is growing and becoming the majority. Read The Bell Curve which explains how this is happening and the implications for the future. It is bleak to be sure.

  5. Here in Florida, “Finally”,,,Andrew Gillum concedes Florida governor’s race to Ron DeSantis..

    So Florida is safe for now from the gun grabbing, tax crazy, filthy Socialist liar…. 🙂

  6. Demographic displacement is simple math. White Americans are the only group in large that values freedoms like the 2A. As a doctor would say, you must diagnose the problem before you can work on the treatment. Time to call out what really is the problem and stop using “safe words” like liberal and socialist.

    1. White Americans are Also The Largest Demographic of People Trying to Dismantle the 2nd Amendment at the Same time. Trust me….There are a Lot of
      Gun Rights supporters of Color Like Colin Noir and Myself, But the Liberal powers that be would like to keep that Fact suppressed. I’m also a Veteran and Lifetime NRA member….There are a Lot like me who stands by the 2nd-Amendment.

  7. Is that a goat or you in the photo? Socialist is right. Do you squat in some attic living on programs paid for by taxes of honest, working people? I won’t argue the Constitutional or Bill of Rights with you. Having retired from 40 years in education, you are way below my radar junior.

  8. Washington state 1639 passed. Look it up, it’s all encompassing, as bad as Ca. I’m now embarrassed to live here. Where was the NRA? Money from firearms retailers for ads, posters, anything? Shooting sports here have been crippled.

  9. I suspect that “Seattle Socialist” is posing in order to enrage the rest of you. As to others comments, many are off-track. Issues of taxation, healthcare, immigration, socialism, and work ethic do not account for the NRA losses this election. The losses came because the desire of rural and urban citizens to reverse the trend of increasing gun violence has been transformed into a political force. Sensible gun owners can respond by helping create reasonable laws that will actually make a difference (national universal background checks for all purchases), or they can stonewall it and let non-owners write nonsense laws (ban on concealed carry). That’s the only choice because most voters will no longer tolerate doing nothing to address the growing problem. Remember, every illegal gun was once legal. I carry concealed 90% of the time. The jerk whose threats put me in witness protection is out on the street. If he comes for me, I want to have him outgunned. Any law that chokes off the supply of blackmarket weapons is a good law.

  10. I have come to the conclusion that Americans are too stupid to survive.
    We will split as a nation for it can be no other way. A civil war will result which will leave us vulnerable to foreign attack.
    A great chapter in human existence awaits us. Let’s kick their ass!

  11. Smile, you silly little Wing-Nuts, we are only getting started. The main goal of I-1639 was to show our legislature that the majority of the people in Washington wanted stricter gun control. Expect the Democratic majority in the Washington State Legislature to pass even stricter measures in the future. Too bad the NRA chose to be a partisan organization, but as long as the NRA is a Republican organization, we will keep pushing for even more restrictive gun control, and pushing to make any violation of such fun laws punishable by a permanent loss of voting rights. The educated urban majority is tired of being held back by ignorant, andconservative, rustics.

    Don’t worry, I’ll be back to crow when the Supreme Court ruled I-1639 Constitutional.

    1. Arrogant little alt-LEFT nazi aren’t you? The Donald is running circles over you snowflakes. With a larger majority in the Senate the record setting seating of federal judges will continue at an amazing pace. You do realize you little fool that Ruth Buzzi is now retiring thus giving my great president a third slot to fill on the supreme court. A lot of these state laws passed will likely be overturned due to the bench now being stacked with constitutionalists and conservatives. Remember years ago a majority of voters in a majority of states wanting marriage defined as being between a man and a woman but the supreme court change that didn’t they. Guess you hadn’t thought this out before you commented. Now go to your safe place snowflake. LMAO. MAGA

    2. Look how much violence has been stopped in great educated cities like L.A. and D.C. by these “Progressive” gun laws. The sad thing is that you’ll probably get what you want in the future and this will be a third world country. You really should go live in a socialist society for two to five years! I HIGHLY recommend it to any “American socialist.”

    3. Wow, your name says it all. Despite that, I’ll try to offer respect for your opinion, the problem is that it obviously won’t be returned. I-1639 had some good facets to it, like most legislature, but the most disturbing parts concern the ‘annual background checks’ it hopes to impose for people who lawfully purchase a firearm, and the potential for abuse with the vague definitions of ‘safely securing’ firearms -this regarding holding citizens who legally own firearms accountable for actions committed by criminals who misuse those firearms. Basic rights, freedoms, and common sense was thrashed by I-1639. Consider if it was being applied to your automobile instead. Imagine going to jail and losing (forever) your right to own or drive a car because someone stole it from your driveway and ran over your neighbor’s dog. This is what just got bought by Washington. Congratulations, do you think you are making the world a better place?

  12. most can be blamed on the 18-30 year old’s and first time voters and straight line voting. These fools have no idea what they have created and in their life times there will be pure and complete socialism in our county.

    1. Problem is that socialism is what they want. A society where a work ethic is not required, gov’t entitlements handed out wholesale and no one has to take responsibility for their actions. The loss of freedom means nothing to them, as they have not yet realized what that would mean.

  13. Look for a precinct by precinct map of your state. Republicans likely won a large majority of the precincts OUTSIDE OF URBAN AREAS. I was looking at Tampa and it’s incredible. The dems won by 2/3 to 95% of the vote in most Tampa precincts. I don’t know how to get to people in urban areas. So many of them seem to want all powerful government or, more likely, leftist policies sound good and they don’t think about the practical application of them. We need to slow and better regulate immigration, stop leftist cheating, and somehow convince more of the confused urban voters to stop voting against their own self interest. With dems taking power back in so many state houses it becomes even harder to press for a convention of states which appears to be the only way out of this big government problem we have.

    1. The best example I saw was Kansas where the entire state was red except for the 2 urban centers in the state. The cities are dictating policy for the entire state now as the voters there are mostly democrat, not sportsmen and have no skin in the game. So loss of gun rights means nothing to them.

  14. In Oklahoma, US Congressman Steve Russel was defeated by a radical anti-gun lady. Steve Russel was the battalion commander of the folks that captured Saddam Hussein. He is also the owner of Two Rivers Arms who produce high end AK 47s. The race was close and decided on a fraudulent claim, in my view, by the lady that she would take action to raise teacher salaries in Oklahoma. Pretty funny, because federal congress folks have very little to do with teacher salaries, which are fund by local state legislatures. The NRA gave Steve and A and he lady a D. I complained for a month that no one was stressing her radical anti gun position. She plainly stated she would ban all semi autos, register all gun and all points of transfer, and raise the age for all guns to 21. We as gun owner simply did not get the word out to the are where the voters lived in that race. I think the NRA could have done more, this should have been a slam dunk.

    1. More proof that if you offer ‘free stuff’ voters will flock to you. Its commonly referred to as socialism.

  15. Grabbing my popcorn for this one…

    Here in FL…we are doing our recount…wow. Approximately half the voters voted for a guy who they think his ideas as follows are good:
    -Raising Taxes
    -Banning GUNS
    -Little to no immigration enforcement; including warning communities when ICE shows up
    -Higher welfare initiatives

    Can’t make this stuff up…this is actually his platform.

    As a 50 yo lifelong resident of the Great State of Florida, I’ve seen us evolve but not at this pace. It is a very sad day when people think these are good policies.

    I remember as a boy and young man when on rare occasion a politician would come along and be a governmental extreme liberal and they got laughed at. And today’s radical left wing politicians that are actually getting elected make them look like right wingers!

    We thrive as a free market, a capitalist society: Where government intervention is frowned upon and only seen and used as a necessity, not an entitlement.

    As Thomas Jefferson said When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.

  16. Don’t think you can relax if your state legislature is controlled by Republicans. PA is a big hunting state, is mostly made up of conservatives and the legislature has been controlled by them for years, Yet only a few months ago they passed the immediate confiscation of firearms in cases of ACCUSED domestic violence, meaning all someone has to do is file a false claim and you lose your guns. Worse is coming now that the election is over, count on it. Our sissy-boy governor has already stated he wants a ban on assault weapons. He’s likely to get it.

  17. I live in Illinois and I am very concerned what will happen.  I don’t understand how lopsided the governors race turned out to be.  Are my fellow gun owners not getting it? Are they not bothering to go out and vote?  Not informed?  I mean the race was not even close.  We may end up moving depending how bad this will get in my state.  A governor who says the NRA will not be safe in Illinois?  Excuse me governor but my guns, my wages, my property taxes, our small businesses, and our pensions, are not safe in Illinois!!!  Where is all the money all you politicians have squandered? The Toll from the tollways? The Lottery? Money borrowed you had no right to?  It’s a sickening feeling here.  Finally all the people making bad choices on what they decide to use their guns for?  Will you just stop and think about what it does to the rest of us?  If you can’t safely own a gun do all of us a favor and get rid of it. Stop giving liberal politicians more ammunition to use against us!

    1. I agree Robert… to an extent. If you look at the counties: out of 102 counties in Illinois, JB won only 15. That was enough to make the race, “not even close”! It is scary to live and pay taxes in Illinois! When I look at the tollways, I just think… Where does all that money go? Constant road construction in some areas where it is not really needed and then other areas that are in desperate need get none. I think that a lot of that money goes to pay off the unions with huge contracts, etc…

    2. My son and his family live in IL. They are leaving for WI as soon as the kids are out of HS. And as a young professional, that’s a loss for IL. Many more will follow.

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