The national election is less than 80 days away. Millions of voters will head to the polls in November and cast their vote for candidates at the local, state and federal level, including for the President of the United States. Many will vote for candidates based on new firsthand knowledge regarding the critical importance of the Second Amendment and how policies affect their right, and ability, to obtain firearms and protect themselves, their families and their property.
Current events across the United States demonstrate why 230 years ago the Founding Fathers had the foresight to recognize why the right to keep and bear arms would still be vital today. It’s also why NSSF launched the #GUNVOTE campaign to help voters register to vote and encourage them to be educated about exactly where their elected officials stand on the Second Amendment. That includes the nearly 5 million recent first-time American gun owners.
Americans across the country have gained a fresh recognition and a new urgency for the importance of taking their safety and self-protection into their own hands. The coronavirus pandemic struck earlier this year forcing businesses to close down, law enforcement to become stretched thin and leading to wide-spread uncertainty and worry among families and within communities. Spread of the virus spurred local officials to begin releasing criminals from jail. Many immediately began committing violent crimes once again.
As spring turned to summer, some elected officials declared the firearm industry and local gun stores and shooting ranges specifically “non-essential” forcing them to close. Governors in a handful of states even declared statewide orders shuttering businesses. That didn’t allay Americans’ concerns and the buying surge continued.
Fast forward through the summer and riots, looting, violence and calls to “Defund the Police” have had a profound effect. It’s no wonder law-abiding Americans of all backgrounds, minorities and women especially, continued buy firearms for self-protection.
Anti-Second Amendment Track Record
As Americans have watched family businesses and stores on Main Street be destroyed, their elected leaders have failed to quell the violence. Governors rejected President Trump’s administration’s declaration that firearm businesses are ‘essential’ and should remain open. Local officials tried to usurp their citizens’ rights by enacting laws that violate their rights.
On the federal level, the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives already voted on a gun control grab bag that would restrict the Second Amendment and turn law-abiding Americans into felons, ignore due process under the law, ban firearms that have become increasingly popular for self-defense and eliminate the rights of Americans that are simply, in fact, just the Second Amendment.
Higher Stakes Ahead
Now the election consequences for the Second Amendment couldn’t be greater as Americans hold the balance of the U.S. Senate in their hands, as well as who will occupy the oval office.
In the upper chamber, former 2020 Democratic presidential contender billionaire Michael Bloomberg is going all out and pledged to spend millions for more gun control. He had his own “do as I say, not as I do” moment during the campaign, stating he deserved protection from firearms but not regular Americans. The balance of the Senate will also backstop policies from the House that infringe on the Second Amendment, but also matter for filling federal court vacancies, including potential U.S. Supreme Court vacancies.
The presidential ticket including former Vice President Joe Biden and his newly anointed running mate U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) have already earned the notorious banner as the most antigun presidential ticket in history. They agree on several Democratic National Committee party platform planks calling for more gun control, including a complete elimination of the firearm industry. Former Vice President Biden offloaded his VP search process to the antigun groups Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action before landing on Sen. Harris as the one he’d have literally a heartbeat away from the presidency.
Don’t Risk Your Rights
On every level of government, voters get to decide whether their Second Amendment rights will be protected or infringed upon. Elections have consequences and there is no more important time than now to see the very real outcomes that November may hold.
NSSF launched the online resource #GUNVOTE to help register and educate voters so they are informed and confident heading to the polls. Understanding the role and rights protected by the Second Amendment are as critical now as ever. Voters, including those first-time gun owners, must be informed so that on election day they don’t risk their rights.
Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.