No, it isn’t a boast from our pro-liberty side, but a lament from Molly Ball of the left-leaning Atlantic. She fears that the recall of Morse and Giron has killed the gun control movement:
Ever since the Senate voted down gun-control legislation in April, some advocates have remained convinced there was still hope. As of Tuesday, that hope is officially dead.
On Tuesday, two Colorado state senators, both Democrats, were recalled by voters for their votes in favor of gun control. Gun-rights advocates instigated the recall drives; the National Rifle Association spent $360,000, sending mailers andairing television ads calling the lawmakers “too extreme for Colorado.” Gun-control proponents, buoyed by donations from New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, outspent their opponents five to one. But the NRA turned the money against the lawmakers, painting them as pawns of fancy-pants out-of-state liberal interests. And the NRA won.
Democrats and gun-control advocates have come up with a number of rosy rationalizations to minimize the loss. Gun-rights campaigners failed to collect enough signatures to initiate two other recalls, they point out, so the victory was really mixed. The gun-control laws passed by the Colorado legislature remain in place, and Democrats retain control of both houses. Tuesday’s recall was a low-turnout election with procedural irregularities that made it harder for people to vote. Both lawmakers represented tough districts, particularly Senator Angela Giron, whose district was Democratic but culturally conservative; she lost by 12 points, while state Senate President John Morse lost by fewer than 400 votes.
All those things are true. And they don’t matter.
Here’s what matters for the future of gun control: Advocates needed to send a signal that politicians could vote for gun control without fear of ending their careers. Instead, they sent the opposite message. Now risk-averse pols, already all too aware of the culture-war baggage the gun issue has historically carried, will have no incentive to put their political futures in jeopardy by proposing or supporting gun-control legislation. Indeed, it doesn’t seem far-fetched to think that gun control might go back into the policy deep-freeze where Democrats had it stowed for most of the last 10 years.
An article with a less-hysterical tone underscores the significance of the defeat of Bloomberg’s minions.
Colorado’s historic recall of two state legislators who backed new gun restrictions may have national repercussions, as advocates say the effort will make it harder to revive stalled efforts in Congress to tighten firearm laws.
In April, federal legislation expanding background check requirements for gun buyers fell five votes short in the Senate, despite political momentum from last December’s massacre at a Connecticut elementary school.
Gun control backers say they have yet to win a single new Senate supporter, and many worry that the muscle shown by pro-gun groups and voters last week in Colorado will make it even harder to find converts.
The freedom-hating political left did their very best to impose nationwide gun control, but have largely been stymied. Despite politically costly short-term victories in Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland and New York (and possibly in California, depending on what Governor Jerry Brown decides to veto or sign), anti-gun Democrats have achieved nothing at a national level, and may be on the cusp of being rolled back, depending on the outcome of the 2014 mid-term elections.
Politicians need to understand both basic math and passion. They have helped create more gun owners than ever before in this nation across political and social boundaries, and those new gun owners will join the old in jealously guarding their liberties.
Gun control is political poison.
Let freedom ring.