We’re still a little more than a year away from the midterm elections, but Democrats and their interest group allies are already starting to freak out about the red wave that might be heading their way. There are lots of warning signs at the moment, including a neck-and-neck race for governor in Virginia, high-profile retirements from longtime members of Congress, and tanking approval numbers for Joe Biden. Add it all up and you’ve got a recipe for electoral disaster, at least if you’re on the Left.
Gun control activists are beginning to panic. Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jamie was among those murdered in the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in 2018, has gone so far as to claim that if gun control activists don’t get a majority in Congress next year, their movement could be doomed to irrelevance.
Guttenberg, a 55-year-old former small business owner, said, “I believe we are one election cycle away from either getting this done, or one election cycle away from losing the chance.”
“We do it now,” he added, “or we never do it.”
Guttenberg noted that Democrats, most of whom agree with him and Brady PAC on top gun issues, control Congress and could hold both chambers after 2022 — even though the party that wins the White House, as Democrats did through Joe Biden in 2020, historically loses seats in the next election.
“I think people need to stop acting like everyone knows what’s going to happen in 2022 and get back to working for what you want to happen,” Guttenberg said. “I want more gun safety candidates elected to the House and the Senate. Period. Full stop. And I think that voters agree with me.”
I wouldn’t be too confident of that. At the moment, Real Clear Politics shows a modest 2.3-point lead for Democrats in polling asking a generic question about who voters would pick for their own representatives in Congress. According to one political scientist, that generic lead would likely translate into a loss of about ten House seats for Democrats, enough to retire Nancy Pelosi as Speaker.
Now, a lot can happen over a 12-month period, but if gun control activists weren’t deeply concerned about losing control of Congress I don’t think you’d see Guttenberg speaking in such apocalyptic tones. At this point it’s not only possible, but increasingly likely that despite Democrats being in charge of both the House and the Senate, the gun control lobby isn’t going to be able to get any gun control bill to Joe Biden’s desk for his signature. This is the best chance they’ve had in decades to impose new restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms, but they’ve already failed to get their candidate installed as ATF director and now face long odds of enacting any of the items on their legislative to-do list.
If I were a gun control activist, I’d probably be quietly panicking too, especially when I considered the upcoming Supreme Court case dealing with New York’s subjective and arbitrary concealed carry permitting laws. There’s a very good chance that by next June, the Court will have struck down New York’s laws and put other states like New Jersey and California on notice that their own “may issue” system can’t survive a constitutional challenge. A decision like that would cause the far Left to demand a nuking of the filibuster and the packing of the Supreme Court just months before Election Day, which I think would do far more to energize Second Amendment supporters than gun control fans.
While Guttenberg is engaging in a little hyperbole by stating that the gun control movement is finished if they can’t build on their numbers in Congress next year, he’s not completely off-base. Gun owners and Second Amendment supporters really do have an opportunity to set the anti-gunners on their heels by taking back the House and potentially the Senate as well in 2022. Take back the House and we can stop any gun control bills from passing. Take back the Senate and we can block any anti-gun attorney that Biden might nominate to the Supreme Court if he gets the chance. Yes, the gun control lobby could still influence the White House and help to pass gun control bills in blue states, but they would be dramatically weakened as a political force for years to come.