By: Brenden Boudreau
Elections have consequences, and if you want proof of that statement, look no further than what took place in Virginia earlier this year after national Democrats and the gun control lobby spent millions to buy control of both houses of the Virginia General Assembly.
In a matter of weeks, the newly minted Democrat majorities passed universal gun registration, “red flag” gun confiscation orders, reinstated Virginia’s draconian gun-rationing law (a.k.a the “one-handgun-a-month” law), and opened the door for municipalities to enact their own anti-gun measures at the local level, which has turned every level of government into a battlefield over gun control.
We are living in unprecedented times, and anyone who declares that they know how this fall’s election is going to turn out is either a madman or a modern-day prophet. Gun owners have to be prepared for the absolute worst, but also for some potential welcome surprises, especially in these five states (or regions) across the country:
Gun owners in Montana are primed for perhaps their best opportunity to make Constitutional Carry a reality in their state after years of obstruction from Democrat governors. This rural, solidly pro-gun state, has had a strange habit of electing Democrats to the governor’s office who run as nominally being “pro-Second Amendment,” but consistently veto gun rights legislation.
During the 2019 legislative session, current Gov. Steve Bullock vetoed legislation to prevent cities like Missoula from creating a patchwork of gun control measures across the state that only serve to trip up otherwise law-abiding citizens.
Bullock also vetoed a version of Constitutional Carry back in 2017.
But with Republicans maintaining large majorities in both chambers of the Montana State Legislature, with very little chance of losing control this fall, and Republicans poised to gain control of the governor’s mansion for the first time since 2005, the stars are starting to align for Constitutional Carry.
Republican candidate for governor and current U.S. Congressman Greg Gianforte returned his National Association for Gun Rights survey, indicating his support to make Montana a true Constitutional Carry state.
It’ll be crucial for Montana gun owners to keep the pressure on their elected officials in the weeks leading up the general election and in the days leading up to the start of the 2021 legislative session, to make it clear that they expect their lawmakers and the governor to fulfill their campaign promises and make Constitutional Carry a reality.
It’s also very important that the Montana State Legislature send a solid, clean Constitutional Carry bill to Gianforte if he is elected governor, to get it done right the first time.
A true Constitutional Carry bill allows anyone who can legally possess a handgun to carry it, openly or concealed, without first obtaining a government permit or paying a fee, and they should be able to do this statewide.
Right now, Montana often is called a partial Constitutional Carry state because it is only within city limits where a permit may be required to carry a handgun for self-defense. But, that’s the problem, since most of the population of the state lives within city limits or has to travel regularly to major cities to conduct business.
A newly elected Gianforte administration and Republican lawmakers must avoid the temptation to carve-out or weaken a Constitutional Carry bill to placate special interests that have no interest in the Second Amendment, but are only looking to undermine efforts to restore the right to bear arms.
The National Association for Gun Rights is gearing up for the fight ahead and will actively be working to make Constitutional Carry a reality in Montana.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and Democrat leadership in the House of Representatives have made it clear that if Democrats retake control of the State Senate, passing gun control will be on the top of their agenda.
Republicans maintain a slim three seat majority in the Senate, where Republican leadership has proven to be less than courageous in defense of the right to keep and bear arms. The only thing that has stopped the Republicans from caving in the Senate thus far has been the fear of angry gun rights voters.
According to the Washington Times, the Bloomberg-funded Everytown for Gun Safety Victory Fund is planning “to spend at least $1 million to try to flip the Minnesota Senate to Democratic control and keep the Minnesota House in the hands of lawmakers” who support gun control.
If they succeed, expect to see the floodgates open much in the same way as was witnessed in Virginia earlier this year.
Mountain West (Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada)
The transformation of the Mountain West from once proud pro-gun territory into little Californias is almost complete as Democrat majorities and governors in Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada have already enacted a smorgasbord of anti-gun measures, including magazine bans, universal gun registration, and “red flag” gun confiscation orders.
Thus far, they have either held off from or fallen short of their goal to advance outright gun bans, as has been achieved in California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York.
But if the Democrats are able to grow their majorities in Colorado, New Mexico, or Nevada (or all three), gun rights experts expect so-called “assault weapons” bans to be a top agenda item in each of these states.
With the U.S. Supreme Court shirking its responsibility to defend the Second Amendment just this year, anti-gun politicians are emboldened to pass even more radical restrictions, and what better way than to do it in once pro-gun territory?
New England (Maine and New Hampshire)
New England has been unexpected bright spot for gun rights activists who witnessed both Maine (in 2015) and New Hampshire (in 2017) join Vermont in becoming Constitutional Carry states. While the Second Amendment is under constant assault in Vermont, it still retains its status of not requiring a permit to carry a handgun.
In Maine, though, gun rights could be under a renewed assault if Democrats grow their majorities in both chambers of the State Legislature. As it stands today, Democrats seemingly do not have the votes in their own caucus to advance radical gun control measures, such as repealing the state’s popular Constitutional Carry law, passing “red flag” gun confiscation orders, or resurrecting attempts to enact universal gun registration that voters defeated via ballot measure back in 2016.
But the leftwing of the Maine Democratic Party is growing louder and is attempting to squeeze out the nominally “pro-gun” voices left in their caucus, perhaps at the expense of finding electoral success in this very rural, pro-gun state. There are many Democrats in the State Legislature who would rather avoid the gun rights issue for fear of political reprisal in their districts. But many of them may be forced to relent (or be forced out of the party), if the voice of anti-gun radicals grows in the party.
Republican governor of New Hampshire Chris Sununu, the governor who signed the state’s Constitutional Carry measure into law, seems likely to be on track to win re-election this fall, which would be good news for gun owners, as he has proven to be the last line of defense against the gun control measures being advanced by the General Court.
But the only reason why that has worked so far is that Democrats have yet to obtain veto-proof majorities in either the House of Representatives or the Senate. If they were to succeed in growing their majorities past that benchmark, the ability to stop gun control in Concord would become measurably more difficult.
There is a strong grassroots gun rights movement in the state that will prove pivotal if Democrats succeed in growing their ranks, but doing so will become much more expensive and challenging, so here’s hoping anti-gun supermajorities aren’t elected in Concord this fall.
Republicans have maintained control of both houses of the Pennsylvania General Assembly since the 2010 election cycle. But since the 2014 election, Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf has been a major roadblock for gun rights activists and a force vector for the gun control lobby as he has repeatedly called for more gun control.
Pennsylvania has been warzone in the battle for the Second Amendment ever since Wolf’s election back in 2014, as well as with current Attorney General Josh Shapiro taking matters into his own hands and enacting anti-gun policies with a stroke of a pen from his office.
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety Victory Fund is pledging to spend at least $1 million to buy control of the General Assembly.
With Pennsylvania Republicans already showing weakness in their defense of the Second Amendment, with several incumbents voicing support for “red flag” laws, any new seats that anti-gun Democrats pick up this fall brings Gov. Wolf closer to his dream of stripping Pennsylvanians of their right to keep and bear arms.
Gun owners have their work cut out for them in these states and regions, but so do they in every state across the country. Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom in our fight for the right to keep and bear arms, and since it is clear that the U.S. Supreme Court can’t be counted on to prevent gun owners from being treated like second-class citizens by their state governments as well as the federal government, it’s incumbent on pro-gun Americans to hold their elected officials accountable for their assaults on the Second Amendment and to hold self-proclaimed “pro-gun” politicians to a higher standard. It is not enough to stop more gun control from passing, but it must expected that lawmakers will actively work to decriminalize the practice of a fundamental right.