Election Hangover

By now there is no news. The midterm elections went about as expected -- Republicans gained seats in the Senate, and Democrats took control of the House. However, I see a serious problem ahead.

There's good news and bad news for supporters of the Second Amendment. The good news comes in the form of a stronger GOP control of the Senate, and that means judges, judges, judges. As I said in 2016, that's the most important factor right now. President Trump is nominating federal judges like crazy, and the change in the Senate may speed up the approval process. Whether a seat opens up on the Supreme Court is anyone's guess. I honestly don't expect Justice Ginsberg to resign while Trump is in the White House. 

The change in the house will prove to be a bit problematic for gun owners. Maxine Waters will head up the pollpowerful House Financial Services Committee, which oversees Wall Street, insurance, and banking. Could that portend a return to an Operation Chokepoint sort of approach to strangle the financial life out of the firearms industry? I have no doubt that the gun-ban industry already has that plan drawn up and is waiting to drop it into the hands of Waters.

In Washington State, the horrible I-1639 referendum passed, as expected. Basically, this was $5.5 million versus about $700,000. We didn't have the money, and that meant we couldn't buy the airtime needed. Even with four major law enforcement agencies opposing this restriction on gun rights, the media carried the water for the gun banners, calling it a "gun safety" measure.  

Stepping back from the immediate "who won and who lost" reports, I'm concerned about the races, the performance, the changing faces of voters, and what it means for gun owners.   

Over the last several decades we have watched Americans move from rural areas to urban and suburban. This will continue, and it's highly unlikely it will ever reverse. This diaspora to cities lies at the heart of the generational and gender divide in gun ownership. Simply put, people don't live on farms and ranches. They can't step out the back door and shoot. They live closer to Starbucks than they do to sagebrush. This isn't news, and the NSSF, among others, has pushed to make shooting attractive to city dwellers, with some success. 

To a large extent, people who don't shoot don't care about gun rights. Sure, that's overly broad, but it's basically true. We need a 10-time increase in quality shooting ranges in and near cities, and we need to double or triple the number of people who shoot actively. 

Two more things need to happen, and no one wants to hear this.

First, the NRA needs to get leaner, meaner, and more effective. Failing that, there needs to be another gun rights group to rise up, funded by billionaires in a Bloomberg-like passion.

Second, we all need to get off our collective asses and get seriously involved. For each of us, our involvement is measured it two ways: money and time. How much of each do you contribute? The gun banners succeed in energizing people to march, contribute, meet, call, email, and donate. I'd suggest getting on the email list of the gun-ban groups, as I have. I get one to three emails from them every day, keeping me informed, keeping me (they hope) committed, and always asking for a donation. 

No one likes to get a bad report card, but as our parents used to tell us, that's not because the teacher gave us bad grades. It's because we earned them. It's how we know where we need to improve.

I almost hate to say these things because I know you are getting this as a Gun Talk Truth Squad member, and you are already part of the solution. And yet ... I'm trying to find a way to get $100 each from 20 million gun owners. I know, I know. But, the reality is that for many people $100 won't break the bank, and it really makes a difference. Or, how do we get gun owners to show up at the state legislatures, to march, to call, to give their time?

I'm looking at the faces of the marchers and the voters, and I'm watching the millions of dollars being donated by billionaires to strip us of our rights, and I know we are facing fights like we have never seen.

Yes, we have Trump for two more years. Maybe more, but don't count on it. Sure, we'll have more good judges. If we don't have a solid, well-funded plan in place to reach urban and young voters, though, we will face more and more I-1639s, Operation Choke Points, restrictions on our activities and speech by online and financial companies, and we will continue to lose.

If you happen to know a billionaire, or if you ARE a billionaire, who wants to protect the Second Amendment, I'll take $50 million as a start and make it happen. ;) Or, if you know a way we can get 20 percent of gun owners (20 million) to each send in only ten bucks, let me know. 

I feel we are at a tipping point. I don't want us to look back at this in 10 or 20 years and say "Why didn't we do something.""

Ideas? ~ Tom

Tom Gresham
Author, outdoorsman, gun rights activist, and firearms enthusiast for more than five decades, Tom Gresham hosts Tom Gresham's Gun Talk, the first nationally-syndicated radio show about guns and the shooting sports, and is also the producer and co-host of the Guns & Gear, GunVenture and First Person Defender television series.


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