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November 13, 2018
By Jeff Fletcher
“Say it isn’t so,” voiced one gun rights voter as he watched the midterm election returns slowly creep in last Tuesday night.
He was among other gun owners who observed the blue trickle that, drip by drip, turned into a storm of Democrat victories in many formerly reliable bright red Republican states that were not tacitly predicting a massive wave of gun control when the new Congress is seated in January.
House Republicans gave up seats in Virginia, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Kansas, New York, Florida and Minnesota and in the process gave away at least 219 seats to Democrats to take over a chamber which is expected to aggressively pursue new gun control legislation.
Among all the races – House, Senate, governorships and even state legislatures – blue wave, gun control Democrats hold the edge that will allow them to introduce legislation for expanded background checks, so-called red flags, more limits on magazine capacity, increased age limits for gun purchases and other measures on which they have campaigned but were previously unable to hold any legislative traction.
Some states with heavy democratic majorities passed their own measures, but at the federal level gun control action continued to be stalled. Now, however, Democratic House members in concert with new governorships are poised to push pro-gun groups like the NRA into at least semi-constricted political spending.
New Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, said she expects action almost immediately. “This will be a priority for us in the next Congress,” she said.
However, all that optimism may not come without a strong effort from the Republican majority Senate. It is axiomatic that to get legislation passed requires a majority of both houses to agree, without which all the gun control proposals coming from the House may end up falling on deaf Senate ears.
If that weren’t enough of a hill to climb for Democrats, gun rights advocates say the strong conservative Supreme Court majority will be coming closer to addressing the tsunami of federal, state and local gun control measures that have been piling up since before President Trump was elected in 2016.
While Democrats celebrate their gun control victories now, they still have to overcome objections from the somewhat newly minted Senate. And when it comes to outspending the NRA, even gun control groups like Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown For Gun Safety knows that the gun rights organization still has lots of capital ammunition in reserve for the expected battle for the presidency in 2020.
The managers of the four Southern California national forest units are increasingly closing roads and even walk-in access to vast areas of public lands, often in direct conflict of their own forest plans and policy guidelines. Hunters are frequently the most impacted by fall-winter restrictions.
There is always some guise for the closures that really can’t be justified in their plans and policies for more than a very short duration.
Closures because of fires usually revolve around the excuse of public safety and/or resource protection after a burn. In the San Bernardino National Forest, the entire 31,000-acre Lake Fire and adjoining areas in and around the San Gorgonio Wilderness was closed for two years to all public access using those two excuses. The fire was in 2015 and the area was finally reopened to the public this year after being closed for over two years — including two entire hunting seasons.
The relatively small (1,300-acre) Valley Fire earlier this year was effectively contained in a matter of days, but it led to the closure of nearly the entire San Gorgonio Wilderness (95,000 acres) to protect public safety. The closure was slated to last through the end of the year. This would have effectively locked deer hunters out of the best part of the D14 hunting zone for a third year in a row. [read more]
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