We’ve finally put 2020 in the rear view mirror, but unfortunately there’s more rough road ahead for those of us engaged in the fight to protect our Second Amendment rights. From an anti-gun administration ready to seize power in just a few weeks to gun control advocacy groups that will spend millions of dollars this year on legal lawfare aimed at turning our rights into privileges, the coming months will challenge gun owners and gun rights activists on a number of fronts.
Despite the dozens of Republicans in Congress who have vowed to challenge the results of the Electoral College on January 6th and the last minute lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are almost certain to be sworn in later this month. Biden’s already indicated he plans to use executive actions and the power of the regulatory state to target both legal gun owners and the firearms industry, and if Democrats capture both of the Georgia senate seats up for grabs next Tuesday, there’s potential for anti-gun legislation to make it through Congress as well.
I think Biden’s plan to ban and “buy back” so-called assault weapons and ammunition magazines is still going to face long odds in the short term, even if Democrats have control over both chambers of Congress. Legislation to mandate background checks on all private transfers of firearms, however, could get enough support from Republicans like Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania that even with the legislative filibuster in place a bill could squeak out of both the House and Senate if gun owners aren’t mobilized in opposition.
On the legal front, the Supreme Court is expected to take up one or more Second Amendment cases in the coming term, but anti-gun outfits like Everytown for Gun Safety and Giffords are ramping up their own legal challenges and preparing to help defend restrictive gun control laws in states like New York, New Jersey, California, and Hawaii.
The legality of 80% frames and receivers will be one of the primary targets for the gun control groups and their in-house law firms in the new year. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (tapped by Biden to head up Health and Human Services) is already working with the gun-banners to sue the ATF over its current definition of a “firearm,” and the agency seems to be falling in line by targeting manufacturers of the unfinished gun parts with raids and threats of legal sanctions.
Gun control activists are also going to be busy in state legislatures across the country, though thanks to the strong turnout by Second Amendment advocates on Election Day the anti-gun crowd failed to capture any additional legislative chambers during the 2020 elections. While their hopes for new gun control laws in states like Iowa, Minnesota, and even Texas aren’t likely to come to fruition, gun control strongholds like New York, New Jersey, and California will be pushing to add even more restrictions to the draconian laws already in place. We could also see restrictions on the right to carry and even a ban on so-called assault weapons gain traction in Rhode Island thanks to the ouster of the “A”-rated Democrat House Speaker, whose replacement is far more amenable to pushing a gun control agenda.
To face down these threats gun owners and Second Amendment supporters are going to have to present a united front, despite the growing divisions in the Republican Party and among conservatives in general. The Second Amendment community is a big-tent movement that’s home to everyone from libertarians to social conservatives to rural Democrats and even socialists, but it remains to be seen if the political fault lines that are causing cracks in both the Republican and Democrat coalitions will split the gun rights movement as well.
My sincere hope is that, despite our differences, we can come together to protect and secure our Second Amendment rights in the face of these growing threats. If we fail to do so we’ll be giving our ideological enemies both a tactical and a political advantage, but if we band together I believe that our coalition will be strong enough to turn back the most egregious threats to our liberties through grassroots lobbying and our own legal challenges when necessary. This is not a year to sit on the sidelines and be a mere spectator. We need gun owners in the arena standing up for our right to keep and bear arms, and with the fights already underway, now is the time to get involved and engaged.