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By Larry Keane

The results are still trickling in on Wednesday, but we’re getting a clearer picture of what we can expect when it comes to the next two years for gun laws in the United States.

Conventional wisdom says that the party in the White House loses “bigly” when it comes to the midterm elections, but last night’s results are proving different. We’re seeing more of a mixed bag in the Congressional results, a changing landscape in the governorships and gun control advocates that spent big and claim victory. But that call might be a bit premature.

House of Representatives

The U.S. House of Representatives will flip back to Democrat control in the 116th Congress. There are several West Coast races still awaiting final counts, but Fox News’ Karl Rove predicted the final count will be 228-207 in favor of Democrats, which will see the Speaker of the House’s gavel change hands.

Prevailing sentiment says Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will again become house speaker, but many incumbent and congressmen-elect have vowed to not support her for the top leadership spot. We can expect short-term leadership power-plays, but they will have little effect on what we will eventually see in the next two years from the House.

Nancy Peolsi
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will again become house speaker.

What it Means

The “Blue Wave” wasn’t the tsunami gun control advocates expected, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see a flood of gun control bills. Rep. Pelosi promised Floridians when she visited there in October that gun control would be a “top priority” in the coming year. She said then that she’d push for a gun background check bill, which we can only assume means what she’s already advocated for in universal background checks.

Expect more. Virginia Democratic Congresswoman-elect Jennifer Wexton defeated Rep. Barbara Comstock on a platform that included banning AR-15 modern sporting rifles and standard-capacity magazines. She’s just one of several newly elected members of Congress who will be looking to make good on their campaign promises.

Expect the House to turn from a legislative body to an investigative body. Democrats will take over every committee chairmanship. We should expect little to get done in the way of legislation because they’ll be more interested in investigating everything from impeachment to Russian collusion to President Donald Trump’s tax returns. And firearms will be in the mix too. Expect hearings on taxpayer-funded gun violence research, magazine restrictions, ammunition bans, age-based gun bans and attempts to outright ban entire classes of firearms.


If the House was the “Blue Ripple,” the U.S. Senate served as the Red Wall. And it got bigger. Republicans appeared to pick up at least net three seats, including North Dakota’s Kevin Cramer beating Heidi Heitkamp, Missouri’s Josh Hawley defeating Claire McCaskill, Florida’s Rick Scott topping Bill Nelson and Indiana’s Mike Braun overcoming Joe Donnelly. Nevada’s Sen. Dean Heller lost to Jacky Rosen, turning one Republican seat blue. Votes are still being counted in Arizona, and Mississippi is headed for a runoff. The first and most glaring lesson is that with the exception of Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), each of these Democratic senators voted against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

What it Means

Most importantly, the Senate has been called the saucer that cools the hot tea that comes over from the House. It’s been a frustrating characteristic at times, but now will become a reality that benefits the firearms industry and gun owners. Legislation can pass the House by simple majority, even if it’s just one vote. But it only takes one senator to kill a bad bill.

It also means that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is going to keep up the blistering pace of confirming judges to the bench and Trump Administration nominees won’t be automatically mired in the morass of politics. That’s especially important when it comes to the Supreme Court. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer are in their eighties. Neither has indicated a desire to retire, but no one foresaw that President Trump would nominate and confirm two justices in his first two years either.

More to Come

We’re still sifting through all the results, including state governorships, state legislatures and ballot initiatives. Tune in when NSSF hosts webinars on what the midterm election results mean to our industry and what we can expect. You can know this much: NSSF will remain engaged, fighting against legislation that hurts our industry and that infringes on our rights while working to America safer while respecting our liberties.


Larry Keane is the SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel at National Shooting Sports Foundation.

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  1. There’s a horse-toothed drunk who got kicked in the junk right back to El Paso where they know that he’s an assh0le singing that Beto Beto Flat on His Seat-o He Got Vetoed Blues.

    Apologies to Hoagy Carmichael.

  2. I would rather have “investigations” to legislation any day when gimmedats run the roost. And this cleans out a good number of RINOs, setting the Stupid party up for 2020 for more wins. Bigly. ( I hope)

    • There will be no shortage of bad bills coming from the house on a straight party-line vote. They won’t expect any of those bills to pass yet, but they will keep up the flow because Nancy knows it is a winning strategy — winning with the big dollar donors, and that is what really counts. The demoncrats have enough margin to enable the few purple state representatives to keep out of the limelight.

      And, yes, Nancy will be the Speaker — despite all the rhetoric about dems who say they won’t support her. She will be speaker simply because no one else is going to make a serious challenge for the job – she knows where the bodies are buried (and more importantly she knows where the big bucks come from – and go to).

      The Red Wall will work just fine until the next mass shooting — then it will crumple because the Republicans simply don’t have a clue HOW to be the “majority party” — look at their performance during two years while they controlled the House and the Senate and the White House. If Mitch were half the man that Nancy is, we would have had the suppressor bill and national reciprocity during 2017.

      WHEN that next mass shooting comes (and yes, it WILL come) it will be even bigger and bloodier than Las Vegas and louder than Parkland — and our Red Wall will crumble as the senators rush to join in supporting some “bi-partisan” “common sense” legislation — and Trump WILL sign it, with Wayne LaPierre and Olie North standing right there with him in the Oval Office praising the “compromise” bill and calling it a victory for the NRA because they got the Senate to pull out some trivial item from the House bill.

      • Maybe Maybe not. We know one thing for sure, the buy backs, and voluntary turn in of banned items within certain cities, is laughable. No ones ever going to voluntarily give up their 2nd amendment rights. Banning ANYTHING, only makes that item more valuable. Inanimate objects are only dangerous in the hands of evil people. If only DEMITARDS put this much effort into stemming DRUGS from Mexico, except that’s inhuman right.

  3. I just wish they would pass concealed carry recoprocity during the lame duck session. I’m not holding my breath. The GOP is at best do no harm. Certainly better than the Dems who believe the only people who should have guns are cops, their security details, and MS 13.

    • “I just wish they would pass concealed carry recoprocity during the lame duck session.”

      Yeah, why not try?

      Pelosi et. all had best tread very carefully with Trump. Turn up the heat on him and it will motivate us to vote in 2 years…

      • But there isn’t enough of you though. You are greatly outnumbered. Every year there are less of you and more of them. Your opportunity is pretty much dead thanks to the so called Republican party making sure of that. Also, whatever flame is left in the NRA will also go out as that organization is based of a specific demographic.

        Now that Trump is going to do four years of nothing much, it will hurt his attempt for a 2020 run, he might not even try. I don’t see another hail mary working out considering how much fail his presidency has been and the SJW crowd coming of age. A one-hit wonder you could say. I have been calling him a transitional president years ago. I never had expectations of him going a full 8 years.

        That’s what happens when registered Republicans fail to listen and strategize based off reality. I thought you guys were smarter than that. I know the entity that is the Republican party is smarter than their followers.

        So much winning. We are winning like we never won before. I’m so tired of winning. So tired… No, guys, really. It’s not a delusion of grandeur. We won even when we lost.

        • All the bullshit you spout I’ve been hearing for 20 years. And in those same 20 years we’ve had the same amount of GOP presidents and congress as we’ve had dim ones. I remember in 1999 talking to a guy, maybe it was your dad, telling me by 2009 Hillary would garunteed be pres, whites would be a minority, and all guns would be banned. During the Bush years I heard that due to demographic shifts Bush would be the last Republican ever. Here’s a clue: It’s not only straight white Christian men voting for the GOP. If that was true the GOP would’ve died 50 years ago.

    • I did not like the universal license bill they conceived. It would have done more harm than good. It sounded great until you read the details. We would be better off pushing for constitutional carry on the state level.

  4. I guess any time there is a shooting the house will pass a symbolic bill of gun banner dreams, to show they are doing something and how mean the Republican senators are.

    Hopefully the Republicans hold the line. Both Rick Scott and Marco Rubio would likely be pretty excited to get a federal red flag law passed, pass some bump stock bans if Trump doesn’t get to it first, maybe even consider some mag cap limits. I certainly hope not, but from previous statements and actions…

    And thanks for waiting on HPA share shush whatever it is named, National reciprocity, Mitch, I am sure pelosi intends to get right on these!

    Basically we are stuck in the same spot, Democrats trying to ban or restrict everything, Republicans will save us from the possible disaster, while occasionally compromising in small ways, but no real legislative relief or vision, except hope the right combination of courts will throw out some bad state regulations. And the fight never ends.

    But maybe, just maybe after much back and forth, that perfect legal case arises and the sweeping national change is pronounced.

    • You sound like a Barack Obama supporter: Hope and change. More like hope of change.

      I don’t need hope. I need leaders of men.

  5. They have one half of one third of the federal government. Forgive me if I’m not worried. And it’s slim margin, ripe for little coalitions that make demands which derail bills
    My heart goes out to states that became less free yesterday.

      • The government doing nothing is almost the best kind of government. Since government really can’t do anything right, the idea that if we had kept the house would have improved things was a pipe dream. We lost some socialist/communist RINO’s to some socialist/communist demonrats. At lease we know they are crazy.

        Keeping and strengthening the senate will allow more Constutionalist judges to be put in place top to bottom. We have a good chance of getting 2 more into the SCOTUS. that is the single most important aspect of the election results.

  6. A commentator on Fox made an important point today. Demographics strongly suggest that the Democratic party and its population density will be concentrated in 15 states over the next 20 years or so. These states and districts will control the House of Representatives because of the population density. (Not coincidentally, they will also contribute 99% of the crime statistics for the same reason.) OTOH, the Senate, representing states, not population density, will be controlled by the more rural, conservative states, with many more gun owners, constitutional or shall issue carry, etc. So the Senate (and the Electoral College) will be the key to keeping the proggies from their goal of total control, JUST AS THE FOUNDERS AND THE CONSTITUTION INTENDED. The article also reminded us that the Senate controls the appointment of Federal judges, not limited to the Supreme Court. So an increasingly Republican/rural/conservative Senate can and will continue to support Trump’s judicial appointments. JUST AS THE CONSTITUTION INTENDED.

    We are living through a history lesson of why the Constitution was written as it was; why the Bill of Rights was written at all.

    • Which is why people like Joe Rogan are trying to manipulate future generations into getting rid of the electoral college.

    • In other words, if you don’t like what is going on in your state, YOU MOVE, if you can’t organize yourselves and vote them out of office. Those of you who call yourselves socially Liberal can stay in California. Those of us in Fly Over Country will cling to our god, our guns, and continue to have antipathy toward others who want to take our civil rights away.

      Socially Liberal people don’t support the Bill Of Rights. They never have.

      • Yep. This map is a perfect illustration of the reason why we have the electoral college:

        As janky as the electoral college seems with its majority of states/minority of voters win conditions, it actually gives a wider, more diverse cross-section of voters a strong voice in presidential elections.

        It’s a heck of a lot better than having California’s surplus votes (as it goes 75% Democrat these days) overwhelm the rest of the West and half the Midwest besides.

        (edit: Meant to respond to the original comment. But yes, Florida probably is going to be one of those states.)

  7. Meh…full speed ahead on more guns & ammo. I expected the worst in ILLinois and we got it. Less than inspiring candidates didn’t help(the Libertarian azzhole for govner was bought and paid for by Prickster). Having lived to nearly 65 I don’t expect anything good here. At least Donnie can push through decent judges…

  8. Nothing new here. Nothing will change. The Dims are still concentrated on the coasts. The rest of the country with the exception of who knows what Floriduh will be like in 2 – 6 years. Probably a red state because of all the North Easterners who are still FU%^ up the place will only increase. If Im lucky Ill be dead in a few years. It will be some one else’s problem here, not mine
    The Right will get back the country in 2020 when the rest of it gets sick of the next 2 years of Congresses bullsh#^. More then likely we will have a 7-2 court and a few zillion more good Federal Judges.
    So yesterday wasn’t a total loss nor unexpected. The next 2 years should at the least be pretty dammed entertaining watching Dimwits self destruct.

  9. What it Means: the GOP will have a slightly better excuse for doing absolutely nothing legislatively on the 2nd Amendment since they no longer hold literally every branch of government.

  10. – Politically, this could be interesting because national-spasm media focuses on the president, and Trump is a counter-puncher. Every motivated, “progressive” thing they do, he’ll oppose if they try to force on him, and half their fun is forcing it on the deplorables. So, he’ll hit back, in the spotlight for 2 years. They’re not used to that, and don’t seem to be able to learn.

    – Policy wise, doing anything legislative got harder. Hard to imagine, but that’s reality. Meanwhile, “pen an phone” administration will advance its stated goals, with the added counter-punch sauce. Every time the house D’s try to limit executive action, Trump will punch back, just for the fight. They’re not used to that, and don’t seem able to learn.

    – Party wise, I gotta bet that the D’s won’t be able to stop themselves from looking ever more stupid, for the next two years. All they had to be was less crazy n vulgar than Trump on his worst day. And they couldn’t do that. I, for one, look forward to the D-party actually passing their policy preferences through the house, when they don’t have control of the senate and administration. A little scrutiny on “You want to do what, now?” Trump got elected in part because Candidate Clinton II so aggressively disqualified herself. I look forward to watching another two years of the D’s more aggressively doing the same.

    – Culturally, the notion of imposition will get ever more ingrained, and rejected. Go run your progressive utopia in San Fran, or Seattle. Have your govt universal health care in Mass. Forcing that on people you’ll never meet, hundreds of miles away, who don’t want it is something else. Meanwhile, younger cohorts of age are both already and drifting more, “not that big state stuff.”

    – Legally, you know, there’s about a city block of IRS and other Feds next to the Koch brothers’ company HQ running continuous audits and investigations approximately forever. Not a Koch fan. Simply noting that the persecuting mechanisms of enforcement are no sure thing vs. a determined, provisioned adversary. They target the helpless and the disenfranchised. President of the US, nominal leader of a party, established public media figure, rich guy whether it’s one billion or ten … determined and provisioned, I’d say.

    The biggest promotion of individual rights, limited govt, and doing things that work rather than simply sound good will be the president, hitting back at the people who want the opposite of those things, and can’t help hitting at him.

  11. Republicans just need to pass bills that will embarrass the democrats for voting no and do it constantly.

    Pass a law that requires all voting machines for federal elections run open source software. Claim it will prevent “foreign interference”. Pass a law replacing FDR on the dime with Lady Liberty, talking about how horrible a person he genuinely, truly was (as Navy ASec he ordered sailors to preform homosexual acts with other sailors then used that to remove sailors from the Navy. He spent the interwar writing how certain races can’t assimilate into the US and mixed race children were the “most unfortunate results”. Once he got in office he decided burning food was a good way to end famine then doubled down on it years latter. He refused to shake hands with black athletes purely for their race. Oh and whole “concentration camps for American citizens” thing.) and expose their hypocrisy on the monuments and women on currency thing.

    Also there’s at least three things Trump can legally, explicitly do without congress and threaten the Democrats with doing if they don’t cooperate. 1: Veto the budget like Jackson and Coolidge did (now go look up which Presidents had balanced budgets across their whole time in office) 2: Order Mnuchin to declare a 90 day NFA amnesty every 89 days, plus another every day Trump is no-longer in office. 3: Order the ATF to declare all purposes “sporting purpose” for the GCA and NFA and to reverse their ban on machine gun parts kit barrels.

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