Nick Leghorn has an excellent blow-by-blow on the numbers concerning the election. It notes that the margin of victory for President-Elect Donald Trump was extremely close in a lot of states. It’s solid, and is worth reading his analysis in its entirety. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
In short: gun owners just made the difference in the presidential election. In fact, our friends at the NRA had the foresight to back the guy early, put forth a huge effort, and delivered. Sensible political creatures will remember that.
I was also tickled pink today to see that the President-Elect will be calling on a team of Second Amendment advocates (including TTAG colleague John Boch,) to advise him on issues related to the right to keep and bear arms. If that’s not #gunsense, I don’t know what is.
By sticking together, we blocked an anti-Bill of Rights Supreme Court nominee appointed as a last-gasp of a fading presidency. The man we just put in the Oval Office will now appoint a replacement for the much-missed Antonin Scalia. That is huge.
As far as priorities, obviously, the Supreme Court is front-and-center at the moment. Going forward, might we have a chance to talk seriously about national concealed-carry license reciprocity? Perhaps taking hearing protection off the list of items that require an NFA stamp? These are opportunities that we, as gun rights advocates, haven’t had in generations.
Sure, there would likely be some legislative compromises. The devil will be in the details, of course, so we will need to watch the President and our Congresscritters like a hawk (but if you’re reading this, you probably already know that.)
I’d also like to take this moment to comment on something that (modesty aside,) I saw coming earlier this year: the post-World War II liberal political order is coming to an end, for good and ill. President-Elect Trump may be a lot of things, but “blind ideologue” isn’t one of them, and if he has a mandate for anything, it’s to clean house in Washington. There is ann opportunity here, but potential danger, too. All assumptions we’ve relied on in the past will now be challenged as they’ve never been before. We better be ready for that, because that’s what we just voted for. I want to share some thoughts on that subject.
For a generation we, as gun owners and civil rights activists, have predicated our legal and political defense of the right to keep and bear arms on the words in the Bill of Rights. We have a right to keep and bear arms because it’s there in the Constitution. The plain meaning of the text is clear. The original intent is obvious. The rights in the Constitution are natural rights that pre-dated the words in the Constitution.
That has been successful for us in the past. It certainly convinces a people who have been brought up to believe in concepts such as natural law and the goodness of a constitutional republic.
I am uncertain if that’s the people we still have. Certainly, a lot of our fellow citizens in California appear to have a slippery grasp on either concept.
Therefore, I believe the next push will be a slow culture war of attrition. The media are still dominated by hoplophobes and civilian disarmament advocates. They’re bankrolled by plutocrats Mike Bloomberg. Ultimately, Mr. Trump’s election means that their hopes of rolling back our civil rights through a friendly administration in Washington have been dashed.
But Mr. Bloomberg is anything but dumb. He knows that without the Supreme Court on his side, the destruction of a constitutional right in our republic is a slow, difficult process. He takes his victories where he can, and like Sun Tzu preached, will try to fight us on ground where we are weakest. The next push will therefore be to cast doubt on the need for the Second Amendment through the media and in adademia. It’s the best option he he’ll have at the national level.
I submit that going forward, our arguments need not just to appeal to the sanctity of the words in the Constitution, which ultimately are just words, but rather are grounded like the other rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights, in the very real and practical self-interest of all Americans, regardless of their position. If, God forbid, America is ever in a position where a President gains power who is, in the words of Scott Adams, “literally Hitler,” would you prefer the world where you confront his jack-booted thugs with only a bunch of words? Or would you rather live in the world where you can confront those thugs with a bunch of words and an AR 15?
Ultimately, we will have to have the argument on first principles. And God help me, I do so relish the upcoming fight because we are on the side of empowerment and freedom. There’s nothing that gets me up in the morning and puts a spring in my step like doing battle for those things.
There will be more to come as the rest of 2016 unfolds. But one thing is sure: the 20th century has finally ended. Two family political dynasties have petered out. The wolf at the door, who happily proclaimed herself our enemy, who wanted to kick us to the curb because she didn’t need or want our votes, has been turned back.
Thank you to everyone who helped make this happen.