Can GOP Still Be Trusted on Guns? Why The NRA Void Needs to be Filled ASAP

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Gun rights shouldn't be a partisan issue but, for the most part is. We generally know how Democrats will vote on it and how Republicans will vote.

There are, of course, exceptions. People are complex and they don't necessarily fit into nice, neat little boxes. 

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Historically, though, those have been the trends. You have an idea of who you can trust on guns and who you can't.

That doesn't seem to be holding.

On Friday, Cam noted a number of gun control measures that came up for a vote in Minnesota. One of those banned binary triggers.

What's interesting is that three Republicans voted for the ban.

Last week, Minnesota House Democrats pushed another one of their insane gun control proposals. This time, legislation that bans binary triggers – a simple modification to semiautomatic firearms that slightly increases the rate of fire. This bill also increases penalties for transferring firearms in ways not approved by the state. HF 2609 passed the house in a vote of 71-59, with three Republicans voting with Democrats.

Those Republicans include Representative Andrew Myers (a former co-sponsor on the bill!), Representative Mark Wiens, and Representative Jeff Witte. 

Now, it's clear those three weren't required in order for it to pass. There was a strong enough margin that it would have moved to the Senate regardless.

Yet they still voted for it.

Now, normally, this would be a story about three turncoats who voted for a bill in a state most of us will never even visit, much less live in. Only, it's not.

See, there have been a number of other troubling instances where Republicans have turned their back on gun owners.

The biggest and best known has been Sen. John Cornyn siding with President Joe Biden to push through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. That has opened the door for a lot of problems including the current "gun show loophole" nonsense.

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Earlier this week, I wrote about two Republicans voting against restoring gun rights of veterans who had their stripped by VA bureaucrats.

Alabama Republicans voted in favor of a state law banning full-auto switches that are already banned by federal law just days earlier. This is after a Republican in the state said he wanted to repeal constitutional carry.

In Texas, the GOP establishment has been siding with Rep. Tony Gonazeles against extremely pro-gun challenger Brandon Herrera, even claiming the district may flip blue unless people vote against someone who actually supports the Second Amendment.

These are all recent stories, too.

So what gives? Well, there are a few different things at play. For one thing, pretty much all of this is being presented by Republicans as being "law-and-order" stands, where they're voting for what the police say they need. This is completely consistent with the GOP stand from years prior, in many ways. They've always been supportive of law enforcement.

The reason it wasn't an issue before? The NRA.

I've long warned anti-gun jihadists that toppling the NRA isn't the slam dunk they think it is, that someone would step in to fill the void left by the organization and there would still be opposition to their anti-Second Amendment schemes.

I still believe that.

But the reality is that the NRA of today isn't what it was five years ago. While Wayne LaPierre is gone, the damage has been done and the organization is still fighting for its very survival. Back a few years prior, these lawmakers would have been nudged by NRA lobbyists and supporters to back off from their support of these measures. The money they'd count on for their campaign coffers would be threatened, to say nothing of the bigger issue of votes from gun owners, and they'd suddenly figure that binary triggers or constitutional carry isn't really the issue.

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Say what you want, but this is how politics works.

And while someone will, in time, fill that void, the question is just how much damage is going to be done in the name of "law and order" before that happens.

Let's remember that anti-gunners always present gun control as anti-crime. If one were to buy that argument, then a vote for gun control could be argued as a law and order vote.

So either the NRA needs to right its ship in a hurry or someone else needs to step in just as rapidly. Otherwise, we're likely to lose more of our allies in the halls of power before we realize it.

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