It’s the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, Stupid

Over at Breitbart, Awr Hawkins suggests that “the Second Amendment crushed gun control candidates in Senate and gubernatorial races around the country.” This is evidently true — or, at the very least, it is true that candidates who happened to be pro-gun won overwhelmingly. Whatever dreams the gun-control brigade had in the wake of the abomination at Newtown were dashed, it seems. Why? Well, because support for the right to keep and bear arms is not a political liability in the United States.

Hawkins records that:

In Texas, NRA-endorsed gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott (R) won. In Maryland, NRA-endorsed gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan (R) won. In Alabama, NRA-endorsed Governor Robert J. Bentley (R) won. In Wisconsin, NRA-endorsed Governor Scott Walker (R) won. In Michigan, NRA-endorsed Governor Rick Snyder (R) won. In Nevada, NRA-endorsed Governor Brian Sandoval (R) won. In Ohio, NRA-endorsed Governor John R. Kasich (R) won. In Oklahoma, NRA-endorsed Governor Mary Fallin (R) won. In Wyoming, NRA-endorsed Governor Matt Mead (R) won. In Idaho, NRA-endorsed Governor Bruce Otter (R) won. In Kansas, NRA-endorsed Governor Sam Brownback (R) won. And in Maine, NRA-endorsed Governor Paul R. LePage (R) won against gun control candidate Michael Michaud (D). (On August 8, Breitbart News reported that Michaud was supported by Gabby Giffords.)

In Senate races, gun control Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) was defeated by NRA-endorsed Cory Gardner (R) and gun control Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) was defeated by NRA-endorsed Thom Tillis (R). In Kansas, NRA-endorsed Senator Pat Roberts (R) won. In Georgia, NRA-endorsed Senatorial candidate David Perdue (R) won. In Arkansas, NRA-endorsed Tom Cotton (R) won. And in West Virginia, NRA-endorsed Shelley Moore Capito (R) won, marking the first time that state has sent a Republican Senator to Washington DC in over five decades. 

It was not all good news. An initiative to extend background checks to private sales seems to have passed in Washington State. Per NBC

Washington voters on Tuesday were passing a measure that would seek universal background checks on all gun sales and transfers. I-594 would also require background checks on private transactions and many loans and gifts.

Voters were against I-591, which would prevent the state from expanding checks beyond the national standard.

At 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, the I-591 count was 55 percent no and 45 percent yes. The I-594 count was 60 percent yes and 40 percent no.

This will presumably be touted as a great victory. But it’s really not. For a start, universal background checks represent the most modest of all the Left’s aims in this area. This was not a ban on “assault” weapons, which remain legal in Washington. It was not a reduction in magazine sizes. It was not a ban on open carry. Instead, it was a law that requires residents of the state to involve a gun dealer when they transfer a weapon to another resident within the state. (Transfers between immediate family members and between spouses or domestic partners are exempt.) I’m against these rules because I think that they are pointless and because they seem invariably to ensnare innocent and unaware people. Nevertheless, the significance of Washington’s having adopted the measure should not be overstated. That a blue state such as Washington should have convinced only 6 out of 10 people to support a billionaire-backed law that does very little in reality is a testament to the strength of support for the right to keep and bear arms even in nominally progressive areas.

In Texas, governor-elect Greg Abbott announced today that, if the state legislature sends him a bill permitting the open carrying of handguns in the state, he would sign it.

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