We still don’t know who the next president will be, nor do we know who will control the U.S. Senate, but we do know that Tuesday was not another blue wave for Democrats and gun control activists. When all the votes are cast, it looks like the gun control movement will have suffered a significant defeat in Texas, where they failed to flip the state House, and the addition of a pro-gun governor will likely lead to the expansion of constitutional carry in 2021.
Tom’s going to have a closer look at how the gun control movement failed to deliver the Lone Star State later this morning, but for now suffice it to say that having Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke, Joe Biden’s point man on gun control, stumping for Democrats across the state for months didn’t help the gun control cause. Despite huge turnout in deep blue Harris County Republicans were able to hold the line by maintaining control of the suburbs, dominating the rural turnout, and cutting into Democrat margins in the Rio Grande Valley.
In Montana, Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte won over Democrat Mike Cooney, and with the state legislature remaining in the hands of the GOP it seems likely that constitutional carry will become law in the state next year. Current governor Steve Bullock, who lost his U.S. Senate bid to incumbent Republican Steve Daines, has previously vetoed a constitutional carry bill, but Gianforte vowed on the campaign trail to sign such a measure if he was elected.
If Montana lawmakers approve a permitless carry bill next session, Montana would become the 17th state to allow for the lawful carrying of a concealed firearm without a license, as long as the gun owner was legally allowed to possess their gun. Just eight states across the country still maintain restrictive and subjective “may issue” concealed carry licensing laws, and Montana adopting constitutional carry would be a huge blow to gun control activists.
Montana’s ballot initiative dealing with firearms preemption, on the other hand, is not yet assured of passage. With 93% of the vote in, approval for LR-130 stands at 50.5% of the vote, with just a few hundred raw votes separating the two sides. If the resolution passes, local gun control efforts will be further limited by the state of Montana, but if the measure fails, the law in the state will remain as it currently stands.
In Oregon, Second Amendment Sanctuary Ordinance measures appear to have won approval of voters in Umatilla and Columbia counties, though similar ordinances appear headed to defeat in at least Clatsop and Coos counties. As we previously discussed, public officials in the four counties voting on the measures came out in opposition, complaining that the ordinances would be unconstitutional and subject to a court challenge, which may have been reason enough for voters in Coos and Clatsop to reject the initiative.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway of the night for gun owners and Second Amendment supporters is that it looks like the U.S. Senate will remain in control of Republicans, though there’s still a chance for Democrats to take a slim majority. If the Democrats only have 51 or 52 seats, however, it will be much more difficult for them to nuke the legislative filibuster, pack the Supreme Court, and approve sweeping gun control laws like Joe Biden’s gun ban plan. If Democrats had been able to pick up seats in Iowa, Montana, Maine, and their dream pick-up in South Carolina, they would have likely proclaimed a mandate to govern, but that’s going to be a much tougher argument to make given the closeness of the election.
The presidential race looks almost certain to head to the courts, given the narrow margins in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, and North Carolina, but thanks to high turnout on the part of gun owners, I feel pretty good about the chances that we may have been able to stave off the nightmare scenario of executive and legislative branches of the federal government unified under an anti-gun majority. This was not a blue wave election, and gun control activists are going to be bitterly disappointed with the results.