By: Brenden Boudreau
As the last votes are finalized from yesterday’s elections, here are four key take-aways gun owners need to know from the 2018 midterms:
Democrats Take Control of the U.S. House of Representatives
The Democrats gained at least 28 seats, giving them control of the U.S. House of Representatives. The makeup of the House will be in the neighborhood of 223-201, Democrats to Republicans.
Nancy Pelosi, projected once more to be the Speaker of the House, has already made it clear that she plans to push gun control in the new session of Congress. Whether or not she is chosen by her party to be the Speaker isn’t completely clear, however, as numerous Democratic members of Congress have expressed a desire for a change in leadership.
In any case, gun control is expected to be a serious topic of discussion in the lower chamber with Democrats back in the majority.
Then again, under Speaker Paul Ryan’s tutelage, the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives passed the “Fix NICS” gun control expansion earlier this year, proving that gun owners must keep a close eye on anyone in power, regardless of party affiliation.
Several anti-gun Republicans, including Congresswoman Barbara Comstock of Virginia, Congressman Mike Coffman of Colorado, and Congressman Carlos Curbelo, lost their bids for re-election, thus demonstrating how costly it is for Republicans to betray gun owners.
Republicans Maintain Control of the U.S. Senate
Republicans not only held their ground in the U.S. Senate, but they will actually have a larger majority than before come January, as anti-gun Democratic Senators lost their re-election bids in Indiana, North Dakota, and Missouri.
While these pick-ups seem promising, gun owners must be cautious about their optimism toward a few of these new Republican Senators.
Republican Governor Rick Scott, a champion of Florida’s massive gun control expansion from earlier this year, is poised to head to the U.S. Senate, pending the results of a recount in his race against anti-gun Democrat Senator Bill Nelson. Having an openly anti-gun Republican in the Senate is a cause for concern.
Utah is sending Mitt Romney to the U.S. Senate, which is also concerning for gun owners, as Romney has a long history of supporting gun control.
Gun Rights Are in Danger in Several States
Democrats have taken complete control of state government in Colorado, New Mexico, Maine, and Nevada, spelling significant danger to the gun rights of residents of those states.
Maine is of special concern; the state’s Constitutional Carry law is expected to be the target of anti-gun Democrats in coming sessions.
Colorado appears poised to be ground zero. Democrats took back control of the State Senate, which was the only remaining bulwark against a tidal wave of new gun control measures being signed into law the last few years.
Sixty percent of voters in Washington State voted to approve ballot initiative 1639 to (according to the initiative’s text) “[increase] background checks, training, age limitations, and waiting periods for sales or delivery of semiautomatic assault rifles; criminalize noncompliant storage upon unauthorized use; allow fees; and enact other provisions.”
Some Opportunities Remain for Gun Owners
The stars appear to be aligning for South Dakota to become the nation’s next Constitutional Carry state with current Republican Congresswoman Kristi Noem narrowly defeating her Democratic challenger to become the state’s next Governor.
Noem has publicly pledged to support Constitutional Carry and is sure to be sensitive to public pressure after having won such a close race.
South Dakota Gun Owners, the state’s largest gun rights organization, is preparing a massive grassroots campaign to push Constitutional Carry through the legislature early in the 2019 session.
Brenden Boudreau is the Director of Field Operations for the National Association for Gun Rights, writing from Michigan. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Disclosure: In addition to his work with the National Association for Gun Rights, the author is also Executive Director of Great Lakes Gun Rights.