Under the Gun
A Second Amendment look at the elections.



Senate: Incumbent senator Roger Wicker (R., A+) has been a leader, including on the subject of re-legalizing the transportation of firearms in Amtrak checked baggage. His opponent is Albert Gore Jr. (D., D+), a former county-party chair. No relation to the father-and-son senators from Tennessee, but not much better than them on the Second Amendment.


Governor: Governor Jay Nixon (D., B-) maintains a lead on small businessman David Spence (R., AQ).

Senate: Senator Claire McCaskill (D., F) would have been easily defeated if the Republicans had nominated a competent candidate. But the Democrats wisely spent heavily in the Republican primary to help Representative Todd Akin (R., A) win. The race remains in the mid–single digits, however, with new revelations about alleged influence-peddling in the Senate dining room by McCaskill’s husband.


This year, Montana is the only state which has two very close contests for major statewide offices.

Governor: The gubernatorial race is neck and neck between former congressman Rick Hill (R., A) and Attorney General Steve Bullock (D., B−).

Senator: Incumbent senator Jon Tester (D., A−) has a very close race with Representative Denny Rehberg (R., A+). Both have been leaders on firearms issues. Tester is the chief Senate sponsor of the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 (S.3525), which is slated to be the first item of business when the Senate returns for its lame-duck session. The House has already passed similar legislation. Among the many important reforms of the Act would be prohibiting the Environmental Protection Agency from banning lead ammunition, pursuant to the Toxic Substances Control Act. As I detailed in an article for America’s 1st Freedom, some environmental groups are suing EPA to impose such a ban.

The “minus” attached to Tester’s name is almost certainly for his vote to confirm Supreme Court justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. The former has already voted that District of Columbia v. Heller be overturned, so that ordinary Americans would have no Second Amendment rights; she did so by joining Justice Breyer’s dissent in McDonald v. Chicago, which urged that Heller be reversed.

Rehberg, Montana’s at-large representative, has introduced legislation to overturn the Clinton State Department’s import ban on hundreds of thousands of M1 Carbines and M1 Garands. Pressure from Rehberg helped force the State Department to lift the ban on Garands.

House, at-large: With Rehberg not running for reelection, business executive Steve Daines (R., AQ) holds a moderate lead for the open seat over state-senate minority whip Kim Gillan (D., C). The Daines biography webpage includes a picture of Daines and his daughter with an antelope they have just taken.


Senate: Retiring Democrat Ben Nelson had a good record on guns. State senator Deb Fischer (R., A) has opened up a big lead on former U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey (D., F). Like Al Gore, Kerrey was elected to the Senate by promising to be pro-gun, but when the anti-gun movement began getting stronger in the late 1980s and early 1990s, he switched sides.

A constitutional amendment to guarantee the right to hunt and fish is on the state ballot.


Senate: The resignation of pro-gun Republican John Ensign led to a vacancy being filled by Representative Dean Heller (R., A). He has only a small lead against Representative Shelley Berkley (D., F).   

House, third district (Las Vegas suburbs): Another first-termer who owes his job to Obamacare, Joe Heck (R., A) faces state-assembly speaker John Oceguera (D., A).

House, fourth district (north Las Vegas and northern suburbs): Danny Tarkanian (R., C+) is the son of the former basketball coach of the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, who was not known for high ethics, even by the standards of college basketball. His opponent is Steven Horsford (D., C).

New Hampshire

Governor: The retirement of anti-gun governor David Lynch creates the possibility for reforms of New Hampshire’s self-defense laws, if lawyer Ovide Lamontagne (R., A−) defeats former state-senate majority leader Maggie Hassan (D., D).

House: Both of the Granite State’s House races are highly competitive.

First district (southeast): Incumbent Frank Guinta (R., A) is challenged by hardline leftist Carol Shea-Porter (D., F), whom he ousted in 2010.

Second district (rest of the state): Incumbent Charlie Bass (elected 1994, lost in 2006, won in 2010) (R., A) vies with attorney Ann McLane Kuster (D., n/a), whom he barely beat in 2010.

New Jersey

For the Senate, incumbent Bob Menendez (D., F) is expected to easily defeat Joe Kyrillos Jr. (R., C), who chaired Chris Christie’s gubernatorial campaign in 2009.

Third district (Atlantic City): Incumbent Jon Runyan (R., A), a product of the 2010 Republican wave, is challenged by Shelley Adler (D., n/a), widow of the incumbent whom Runyan defeated in 2010.

New Mexico

Senate: Retiring senator Jeff Bingaman, first elected in 1982, often but not always voted wrong on Second Amendment issues. Representative Martin Heinrich (D., B) appears be pulling away from Representative Heather Wilson (R., A). In any case, score New Mexico as another guaranteed improvement for gun rights.