Now, it’s a new year. It’s an opportunity to look and hope for bigger and better things.
So, I thought it would be prudent to talk about my pro-gun hopes for the new year.
First, despite Democrats controlling the House and the Trump administration rolling over on bump stocks, I’m confident we’re not going to see new federal regulations any time soon. While they hyperpartisanship we currently see in Washington is a pain in the butt in many ways, the upside is that it’s unlikely the two parties will work together on something so divisive as gun control.
Instead, what we’re going to see are the real battles–the ones that might change something one way or the other–happening at the state level. While federal officials make sweeping statements and grand gestures, activists and officials in 50 state houses will be fighting for dominance.
Ultimately, I think you’re going to see freedom expand in already pro-gun states while it contracts in anti-gun states.
For example, let’s take a look at my home state of Georgia. Despite at least one Republican leader arguing that gun bills would be pushed aside in favor of more “important” issues, that’s just one member of leadership who, frankly, may be out of leadership soon. Governor-elect Brian Kemp, however, vowed to expand gun rights by pushing to make Georgia a constitutional carry state.
Frankly, I’m willing to bet that a governor has more sway than a committee chair.
After the bitter gubernatorial campaign, it’s entirely likely that gun rights expansion will happen out of a sense of gloating if nothing else. The General Assembly will pass things they want just because they can, even if it’s not the biggest priority.
In other states, the picture will be different. Anti-gun states are already gearing up to enact still more gun control legislation, never noticing that none of the previous gun control measures worked.
But it’s also important to remember that every bit of gun control legislation they pass seems to be met with yet another lawsuit. This puts things in the hands of the courts, and any case has the potential to land before the Supreme Court.
These days, the Supreme Court looks very different, and while it’s still clearly hesitant to take on a gun control case, I can’t help but believe it’ll have to sooner or later. Based on the makeup of those on the bench, that would be a disaster for gun control advocates throughout the nation. I hope that the Supreme Court will hear at least one case on assault weapon bans and vote to overturn the laws. There are no grounds for them, and I’m of the belief that such laws’ days are numbered.
However, let’s also remember that there will still be fights in Congress. The Democratic-controlled House will continue to pass bill after bill–at least some of which will be gun control bills–to virtue signal to its base that it’s fighting. The Republican-controlled Senate will likely do similarly. It’ll push pro-gun bills as a counterpoint.
If someone is sneaky enough, they can get enough votes together between pro-gun and gun-agnostic Democrats and the various Republicans, to get a bill to President Trump’s desk. There, he’ll probably be inclined to sign it to signal to his base that no, he hasn’t abandoned them.
While I’d prefer for 2019 to kick off with just pro-gun politicians in the driver’s seat, there’s still a lot to be hopeful for.