With gun sales soaring, and the National Shooting Sports Foundation reporting that as many as 2-million Americans have purchased their first gun in just the past six months, some folks are starting to think about the impact that these new Second Amendment enthusiasts could have on the November elections. Alan Gottlieb, the executive director of the Second Amendment Foundation, believes that the influx of new gun owners could signal a “sea change” in Second Amendment politics.
“This new wave of gun owners could become a formidable force during this year’s election,” Gottlieb noted. “From now on, we expect millions of new gun owners to pay closer attention to candidates, and reject those who would trample on their Second Amendment rights. With legions of new gun owners ready to protect these newly-discovered rights, it could be a pretty scrappy election year with lots of surprises.”
On today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co, we dig a little deeper into those new gun owners and how the might effect this year’s elections as well as the broader debate over gun ownership in this country.
As much as I’d love to think that every new gun owner is going to turn into a single issue voter, we know that isn’t going to be the case. There will be plenty of left-leaning new gun owners who cast their votes for anti-gun Democrats in November, even if they now object to a candidate’s position on the Second Amendment. My hope is that these gun owners will not only come to understand the importance of voting to protect their right to keep and bear arms sooner rather than later, but that they’ll push Democrats to undo the damage done by gun control laws.
As I wrote yesterday, it’s time to decriminalize the 2A as part of criminal justice reform efforts, and left-leaning gun owners may be able to make these arguments to Democrats who would ignore the same thing if it came out of the mouth of a conservative gun owner. One day before long the idea of gun licensing and discretionary carry laws may be just as unpopular on the Left as the national anthem or Abraham Lincoln seem to be at the moment.
Having said that, Gottlieb is right that some of these new gun owners will be voting to protect their newly exercised right to keep and bear arms. For instance, at the moment there are tens of thousands of Illinois residents who’ve been waiting for months for the state to issue their Firearms Owned ID card so they can legally purchase a firearm. Many of these would-be gun owners may still be so ticked off by the process that they vote in favor of candidates in November who want to scrap the FOID system entirely.
New gun owners in California who’ve now been exposed to the absurdities of the state’s gun control regime could also have an impact on some races, though Biden will still win the state handily. In swing districts, however, new gun owners could help tilt races for the state Assembly and state Senate. I don’t think California’s legislature is going to flip to being a pro-2A body, but if the gun vote does turn out in large numbers in November we might be able to at least remove the veto-proof anti-gun supermajority in the state.
In other words, I think the influx of new gun owners could very well play a key role in deciding some elections, but increased political activism by the nearly 100-million Americans who’ve owned firearms for years could have an even bigger impact. Regardless of when you became a gun owner, it’s critically important that you vote like your rights depend on it this fall, because they absolutely do. Increased gun ownership on the Left may help defuse or undo gun control legislation over the long-term, but in the near future, Democrat control of Congress and the White House would lead to a gutting of the right to keep and bear arms for all of us.