House Speaker Nancy Pelosi administers the oath of office to members of the 117th Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021. (Bill Clark/Pool via AP)
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi administers the oath of office to members of the 117th Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021. (Bill Clark/Pool via AP)

By Larry Keane

The 117th Congress gaveled into session on Jan. 3 and among the new faces in the U.S. House of Representatives are dozens of firearm-friendly freshmen. It’s the most diverse Republican freshmen class ever and includes military veterans, minorities and a historic tally of women.

The GOP freshman class, outnumbering Democrats by a three-to-one margin, arrived at Capitol Hill at the same time America is watching the face of gun ownership change. A record 21 million firearm purchases were made in 2020. That includes 8.4 million people who bought a gun for the first time last year. By all counts, the image of who is buying guns no longer fits dated caricatures. Forty percent of 2020’s gun buyers are women. African American gun buyers grew 58 percent over 2019.

The threats to Second Amendment rights are real and the new Members of Congress have staked out their position to defend those rights.

Taking the Oath

Six Second Amendment-supporting freshman members hail from Texas, including Navy veterans U.S. Reps. Tony Gonzalez and Ronny Jackson and former Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls. Former Irving, Texas Mayor Beth Van Duyne was sworn in, campaigning on a message of firearm ownership and personal security for women and calling out the “defund the police” movement that puts lives at risk. Rep. Pete Sessions regained a congressional seat and former Texas state legislator Pat Fallon was also elected – both hold strong, well known records on gun rights.

California sent five new members to Congress and all are stalwarts on the Second Amendment. Reps. Michelle Steel and Young Kim are the first two Korean-American Members of Congress and each back firearm rights. Congressman Jay Olbernolt, who was a state legislator, previously criticized California infringements on the Second Amendment, saying “I know what the solutions aren’t. The last thing we ought to be doing is taking the arms out of the hands of our concerned citizens who know how to use them properly.” Rejoining Congress are Reps. Darrell Issa and David Valadao, each with gun rights records.

Florida added Congressman Byron Donalds, a former state legislator. He said, “In Congress, you can expect me to defend your Constitutional rights, no matter the cost. Shall not be infringed, means Shall not be infringed!”

Congresswoman Kat Cammack, herself a Florida concealed carry permit holder, agreed, saying “I will always uphold and defend our Second Amendment rights. As a concealed carry permit holder and the wife to a first responder, I am adamant about protecting this most basic American right. This issue is personal to me and my family.”

U.S. Reps. Scott Franklin, Maria Elvira Salazar and Carlos Gimenez also join the ranks from the Sunshine State.

In South Carolina, gun rights supporter Rep. Nancy Mace, the first woman to graduate from The Citadel, took back a congressional seat from a gun control congressman. Congressman Andrew Clyde will represent his Georgia district, bringing his experience as a firearm business owner and former Navy officer along with Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has been vocal on her gun rights positions.

Colorado Congresswoman Lauren Boebert has a well-known reputation as a Second Amendment supporter and already made a splash for gun rights by forcing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to cave on implementing new gun control rules in the House of Representatives.

The great news for gun owners and Second Amendment supporters across the country is that there are dozens more new members who will also be allies in Congress. They’ll be needed as the threats to the firearm industry and gun owners are expected to grow.

The Stakes Ahead

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris won’t be slowed. The most antigun presidential ticket in history is ready to move on several gun control proposals, including plans to confiscate and ban modern sporting rifles, impose red flag laws that deny due process, suffocate firearm small businesses through regulation and above all, eliminate the firearm industry by repealing the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA).

NSSF is already forging relationships with these Members of Congress, showing them the importance of the industry to their states, districts and the rights of the citizens they represent.


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

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  1. An ugly thing to contemplate: “New” members of House or Senate do not represent their constituents; they represent, at best, their party, at worst, their donors.

    Seniority is everything in elected office. New members of House or Senate cannot “change things” as simply as they wish. Half their time must be spent fund-raising for re-election. This, and more, is why elected officials must make politics a career. Else, they are ineffective, powerless, and useful only as vote to support leadership.

  2. Yeah, well you guys screwed the monkey on this one, you give up any idea that these people will support your agenda.

    I could explain why, but better that you just watch the proud boys desecrate the Crypt of the United States Capitol, violently attacking anyone inside and destroying precious artifacts of our nation’s Heritage.

    • for the last 4 years, 24/7/365 we have had to listen to you and others like you who called us deplorable, racist, sexist, misogynist and every other “ist” in the language. We’ve been pushed to the limit. The new Athens TN is happening, right now. You made your bed young boy/girl/whatever you claim to be today. Now you must lie in it.

  3. Its now time to put up. Or shut up. They call all demand to carry while at work in the capitol building. Just like Congresswoman Lauren Boebert. That would be a great start.

  4. House no big deal essentially. It is the Senate where we need many new senators who support an uninfringed Second Amendment. Whoops, the new ones HATE the Second Amendment.

  5. After today’s events, I have to wonder if a much larger group of United States House of Representatives will suddenly become gun-friendly themselves.

    • “After today’s events, I have to wonder if a much larger group of United States House of Representatives will suddenly become gun-friendly themselves.”

      Anything is possible, I suppose, but Cowerers gotta cower.

    • Not likely. The anti-gunners will stay anti-gunners. The most that will happen is they pass laws of the “good for me; not for thee” variety.

  6. All these Congresscritter’s sound swell. In theory anyway. We seem to hear similar every 2 years. Hope y’all prepared!

  7. We now have several gun rights champions in the house.Now it’s more important then ever to flip the house back in 2022.To all gun owners it’s also time to think about making those donations to gun support foundations that support our right defense.Any gun rights group of your choice is o.k To the new gun owners that went out and bought firearms last year learn how to safely use them and remember you are now in the fight to keep our gun rights alive.Support our cause.

    • “We now have several gun rights champions in the house.Now it’s more important then ever to flip the house back in 2022.”

      The recent mostly peaceful incident in DC will energize the leftists. They already call the event “insurrection”, a label they refused to acknowledge when the favored anarchists were destroying cities and US government properties. The Republicrats can no longer thwart anything the Dims want to do. They wasted the full hand in the first two years of Obama. Don’t depend on them making that mistake again.

      (Yes, a three member majority for Dims is enough to initiate scorched earth tactics on civil rights in the name of public safety/health.)

      • “The recent mostly peaceful incident in DC will energize the leftists.”

        Bullshit, you people tried an Insurrection to disrupt the congressional certification of the electoral college votes and you failed.

        And now good Americans are outraged, you were parading in the halls of the United States Capitol waving the flag of the racist confederacy, traitors trying to destroy the United States of America in order to perpetuate the terror of slavery.

        You tore down the flag of the United States of America from the capital, and replaced it with the Trump banner, in an unconstitutional attempt to illegally perpetuate the dictatorship of Donald Trump.

        You, like trump, are men without a country.

        And you are domestic terrorists who will be rooted out and exterminated.


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