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.