Question of the Day: Are We Winning?

Glenn Reynolds detected happiness as he strolled the aisles at the NRA Annual Meeting in Nashville and chalked up all that glee to the fact that we’re winning. Fifty states of concealed carry (to one degree or another), constitutional carry in more states, an individual right to bear arms blessed by the Supreme Court, national reciprocity proposed in Congress…all because, in the professor’s view, our side fought. Sure, the media’s still every bit as anti-RKBA as ever. And Bloomberg-funded minions are marching in the northwest. Still, it’s hard not to be impressed by the progress. No one’s declaring victory or advising reduced vigilance, but on the whole, are we winning?   [h/t DrVino]


  1. avatar John L. says:

    We may be winning; we must not become complacent.

    1. avatar Clark says:

      Bingo….tide seems to have turned but anti’s will try again. Not to mention we need to go on the offensive a bit. Join all the groups on the state and fed level you can. Got a card with my last Ruger for discounted NRA memberships..

  2. avatar CTSheepdog says:

    Never one to argue with the esteemed Dr. Reynolds, I think he should leave the good state of Tennessee and come north and visit CT, NY, NJ or even MD.

    In CT, consider the law about to be passed involving temporary restraining orders (TRO). As written, anyone gun-owner who is getting divorced and whose estranged spouse seeks a TRO, can/will have his lawfully owned firearms subject to confiscation, even if he did no wrong. Yup, no-cause, other than a pissed-off spouse, and your guns are gone.

    “Winning” is like real estate, it is all a matter of “location, location, location”. Which is why my family and I are permanently relocating to The Gunshine State this summer.

    1. avatar mark_anthony_78 says:

      “CCW in all 50 states (to one degree or another)” really means CCW in about 40 states.

      But that doesn’t sound as impressive – and it actually makes the author of such a comment seem dismissive of anything that isn’t good where he/she happens to live.

      I’ve seen that statement (or one similar) to it in a lot of articles on TTAG, and it’s just simply not true. Let’s call a spade a spade, there are states where CCW does not exist. Those states need all the support they can get, even from outside their borders – and glossing over their situation means that outside support wanes because people think we’ve won.

      CCW is borderline a lost cause in NJ, so similar to you, I’m seriously considering a move to SC (ironically, near a town called Liberty) depending on what transfer opportunities are available for my job.

    2. avatar Mr Pierogie says:

      We may be winning in general, but we’re losing in the blue states. When was the last time a gun restriction was loosened or repealed in states like NY, NJ or CT? I’m glad to see that things are going well in the 40 non-commie states where gun laws maybe are not ideal, but aren’t terrible either. But people in the blue states feel abandoned and disillusioned, while they continue to contribute financially. The NRA especially, with the recent influx of cash, should be focusing on the blue states. The SAF is trying, but without NRA’s money, it’s not easy. I’d like to see more involvement there, not just the typical “it’s a lost cause” answer. If they want my money next year, they have to show more initiative.

    3. avatar Old Ben turning in grave says:

      This is the key point I wanted to raise. In general, things are getting better in “red” states and worse in “blue states.” There are exceptions, of course, like nominal shall issue in Illinois.

      Though, on the other hand, we have successfully fended off serious attacks at the Federal level. We’ve gained no ground there, but at least the civilian disarmament movement hasn’t either (except for some executive orders).

      1. avatar CTsheepdog says:

        We have successfully defended on a national basis, for now. The antis have taken their fight to the state level knowing that they can’t pass anything in this Congress.

        But what happens when a President Rodham-Clinton gets two SC justice selections and some future decision not only wipes out the Heller and McDonald decisions?

        I don’t care how you feel about the eventual GOP nominee, or even the GOP generally, in November 2016 you HAVE to vote against the Dem nominee, whether that be Clinton, O’Malley, Webb or, G_d help us, Warren.

        1. avatar JohnF says:

          I would go farther. As the late, great conservative thinker William F. Buckley, Jr. said, “The only intelligent vote for a conservative is for the most conservative candidate who can win.” As tempting as it is to vote for third party candidates, it allows liberal candidates to win. We can’t afford that.

    4. avatar Nor'Easter says:

      A very good point and do I ever feel your pain. Although there’s been some progress made, as long as those of us living in the states you mention are suffering under our assorted “regimes” we’re not really winning yet.
      I’ve considered moving myself but am determined to battle it out where I am.

  3. avatar Don in PA says:

    If we are “winning” at the moment, remember the race never ends, and both sides get faster the longer it goes on.

  4. avatar Noishkel says:

    The fight for liberty is a war that never ends.

  5. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Yes. Yes we are. One battle at a time.
    Although Oregon is about to take a step back.

    1. avatar Jim says:

      Tom, you beat me to it. Oregon now has a Democratic supermajority and their first order of business has been ramrodding through a “universal background check” (ie, registration) bill. The anti-gunners realized that thye were getting nowhere on a federal level, so they have brought the fight to states. As a result, they are gaining more traction in places like Oregon and Washington.

      1. avatar pwrserge says:

        Which is why we need federal preemption of all state gun laws. Focus the fight to the federal level and they will never be able to win.

      2. avatar Sixpack70 says:

        This is one reason why I will probbly never live in Oregon again, even though I was born there. The democratic supermajority will eventually start to go full California on gun laws. With no opposition party to stop them, they can pass whatever insanity they can dream up and cram it through.

    2. avatar CarlosT says:

      Which is the crux of the issue. From the legal/Constitutional perspective, I think we’re on pretty solid ground. However, in any situations where large populations of left-leaning people can impose their will, we’re basically screwed. It’s the story over and over in California, it’s the I-594 story, and it’s the story now in Oregon.

    3. avatar Toggle12 says:

      WE ARE ABOUT TO LOOSE becuase, even amoungst people of the gun, I rarely hear anything about universal background checks. TTAG aught to be squaking about universal background checks every day. Universal background checks are dangerous for two reasons. First, they benevilant and therefore are not likely to raise contraversey. After all who could be agianst selling guns to criminals, right? Secondly, universal background checks are the precident needed for universal registration (how else would we be able to enforce background checks on older guns?). Universal registration is the president needed for univeral confiscation. See how that works? Precident chain: federal background checks —> universal background checks —> registration —> confiscation.

  6. avatar PG Williams says:

    I think there have certainly been some advances made…look at the Sig brace for example. The ATFE left the door open for us to comment as constitutionally-minded gun owners and we managed to nearly melt a few fax machines if my understanding is correct. We are certainly seeming to push towards a more gun-accepting populace as well (see all the TTAG articles for advances forward). So in that fact we are “winning.”

    However, like the Hydra of Greek myth, if we cut the head off one problem, it can quickly multiply into more and, in terms of the present administration and fear-mongerers that have control, more subversive tactics. We saw this with the proposed ban on M855 ammunition in a sort of “couldn’t manage to ban the car, so ban the gasoline” kind of approach to the new proclivity of 5.56mm pistols and the like.

    So, to end, yes, we have seen some victories, but we must remain vigilant and perhaps continue the offensive. Just like our current administration’s goons rode the wave of recent mass murder events, we too need to ride the wave of our current success and keep winning.

  7. avatar Ralph says:

    In this process, we are ahead on points. “Winning” assumes that the process will end, and I don’t see that happening. Where there is freedom, there will always be statists trying to take it away. Where there is wisdom, there will always be fools jabbering about “common sense.” It’s the nature of the beast.

    1. avatar Clark says:

      Well said

    2. avatar Ing says:

      It’s very much like a ball game — Aztec style, where we become a sacrifice to the gods of the other side if we lose.

      We made up a lot of lost ground and pulled ahead by a few points. After playing from behind for so long, it’s pretty exciting. Let’s just remember that the game is long, and the other side still has a powerful offense. And they’re not hampered by our desire to play fair.

    3. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “Where there is wisdom, there will always be fools jabbering about “common sense.” It’s the nature of the beast.”

      May we never get to discover the true nature of the ‘Hildabeast’…

  8. avatar Tsn4 says:

    I’d say we are winning but that is no reason to stop pushing as hard as possible until we achieve ultimate victory. Repeal the NFA. Repeal the Hughes Amendment. End the ATF.

  9. avatar Frank says:

    Yes, we are winning, HOWEVER, we still have a long way to go. We must stay vigilant and push on offense whenever possible.

  10. avatar Clark says:

    Everyone should Join NRA, GOA, State organizations..whatever. Seems our “people” only get up and arms when things are at there worst…time to go on the offensive. Can’t speak for other groups, but I got a discount card for NRA membership in my last Ruger (I’m a life member BTW). go to and the membership is discounted…JOIN

  11. avatar Chip Bennett says:

    Are we winning? Yes.

    Is the status quo permanent? No.

    Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty; power is ever stealing from the many to the few. The manna of popular liberty must be gathered each day or it is rotten. The living sap of today outgrows the dead rind of yesterday. The hand entrusted with power becomes, either form human depravity or esprit de corps, the necessary enemy of the people. Only by continued oversight can the democrat in office be prevented from hardening into a despot; only by unintermitted agitation can a people be sufficiently awake to principle not to let liberty be smothered in material prosperity.”

    – Wendell Phillips, 1852

  12. avatar Dracon1201 says:

    Oh hell yes we are! Now keep the tank moving, and keep crushing any thing in its way.

  13. avatar Joe R. says:


    a/k/a “never”

  14. avatar P. Nissman says:

    I live in the Communist Block of NY… and the proletariat has lost so many gun rights from the SAFE and Sullivan Acts… that there’s no way in hell there’s any winning goin on here… unless you count the Charlie Sheen “WINNING”…

  15. avatar Dave357 says:

    We’ve lost some ground in a few States and stand to lose some more, so winning is a bit too strong a word to use here. Still, we are gaining some ground too.

  16. avatar pod says:

    Winning? Yes. But we can’t be complacent. The freedom that allows us to enjoy and use our firearms also allows the antis to propose law after law restricting those rights.

  17. avatar JimM says:

    The Professor also says: “Don’t get cocky, kids.” Believe it. This fight of ours is about a lot more than RKBA.

  18. avatar Tanner says:

    Personally, I would say that we are still losing, considering the lead the grabbers built with NFA and other unconstitutional legislation, but we are making a comeback run at this point in the game. As far as I can tell we still trail by a wide margin of around 22-250 (I would use 30-06, but you always put your team’s score first in games like ping pong, which this is very similar to).

  19. avatar Mack Bolan says:

    Unless and until shall not be infringed is the universal battle cry of every gun owner in this land, we will always be losing in one form or another.

    1. avatar Red in Texas says:

      ^^This^^ X 1000

  20. avatar Dave says:

    I agree with the group that in very large part we are “winning” but complacency is our ever-present adversary.

    I’m also concerned about Bloomy’s victories in the Pacific Northwest on UBC. I can see them playing the long game and the ease that these measures seem to be passing makes me wonder if they can be stopped in more gun-friendly states like NV and AZ.

    1. avatar Dave357 says:

      UBCs are hard to stop, so NV and even AZ may succumb, although it must be noted that only 60 percent voted for them in WA, despite assurances that UBCs are favored by 90 percent of the public, so it’s not yet over. Either way, it’s only one issue, and the public may be for UBCs while still being on the pro-gun side on other aspects of gun ownership. Who knows what gun laws will look like in 25 years.

  21. avatar PeterW says:

    I’ll consider it edging towards winning when I can walk in to my local California gun store, show my ID, and walk out with a semi-automatic handgun produced new after 2013 the same day. As long as the list, the 10-day wait, the bogus “firearm safety certificate”, standard-cap magazine ban, silencer-ban, sbr-ban, etc. are in effect, we will be in political conflict.

    1. avatar John in Ohio says:

      How about no ID and any firearm that they stock you might want and can afford, auto or semi?

  22. avatar Kyle in CT says:

    As a CT resident, if this is winning, I’d sure hate to see losing.

  23. avatar Praveen says:

    Not really winning. More and more young people are moving to already densely populated urban centers and those places are mostly against gun ownership, even in the states that have traditionally been red… Austin, Seattle, Portland to name a few. And this trend will continue…
    Also, the public school institutionalization is in full force. Kids grow up not knowing a single thing about their own constitution and are easily swayed by “something must be done”…

    Most of the victories have been judicial and unfortunately that only lasts until the population skews the other way and changes existing laws. I don’t think any ‘hearts and minds’ have changed.

    So, I would say, even if we have won some battles right now, the future looks bleak.

    1. avatar Dave357 says:

      Yes, urbanization is an important issue. The 2020 census will be used as a basis for defining congressional districts, and we will see some shifts there.

  24. avatar Rbd says:

    We won’t be winning until the term “sporting arms” is abolished and the NFA is overturned. Those are the biggest threats to our freedoms of personal defense.

  25. avatar Michelle says:

    Tell that to a farmer in upstate N.Y., Or to someone moving who passed through Maryland with guns in their car.

    Really wary of self congratulation… Be careful of confirmation bias and confidence in the echo chamber.

    The anti gun stigma is stronger than ever among the average Joe, and though gun people’s ranks might have grown, the control groups are still more motivated than they have been in decades.

    I had to deal with someone the other day who said she was “nauseous and faint” after seeing a picture of another friends AR build that some of us were sharing around.

    Kids who point their fingers and make a “bang” sound are given psych evals.

    Both sides are getting more polarized, that’s why when you’re over in this tent it feels like things are going better.

    Stigmatization, (versus “common sense “, oddly enough) could be what wins the day for antis.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      The Nevada legislature is working on a “Pop Tarts” bill as we speak. All the Assembly Republicans voted for it. All the Democrats voted against it.

    2. avatar CBI says:

      Well stated.

  26. avatar Jim R says:

    No. We’re not.

    Don’t EVER allow yourself to think you’re winning, that you’ve got them on the ropes. That false sense of security will be your undoing.

  27. avatar Bob108 says:

    We are winning a lot of battles, but we have a long way to go before we can declare victory. If Hillary wins the presidency, we lose the 2nd amendment and the war.

  28. avatar Silver says:

    In relation to the rest of the world? Yes.

    In relation to the original vision of the founding fathers and the principles America was founded upon? We lost a long time ago and it’s never coming back.

  29. avatar Sian says:


    Just because we’ve pushed them back a few points doesn’t mean we’re winning. We still only have a fraction of the pie we started with in 1933.

    Next up:
    Shall Issue requirements for all states and municipalities
    National reciprocity
    SBR/SBS/AOW/Silencer deregulation
    1985 LEOPA repeal (‘sporting use’ requirement, AP ammunition)
    1986 FOPA repeal (Closing of machinegun registry)
    NFA1934 repeal

    1. avatar SteveInCO says:

      You forgot GCA68

  30. avatar Almost Esq. says:

    Here in the Peoples Republik of Kalifornia we are losing, and bad. CCW is going before the 9th, and we will likely lose. More gun laws are in the works. The Dems have absolute control of the government forever. A semi auto ban was only just stopped by a surprising Dem gov. veto. We have handgun and rifle reg. A safe handgun list… And thats only just a few of the worst things… Yeah things are bad here. I plan on moving the family to the free state of South Carolina post haste!

  31. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    Winning! (In my best Charlie Sheen voice). In Illinois some-but we have an evil lot of dumbocrats trying to win…all it takes is a “crisis” or school shooting(or an extra-horrible hildebeast). It’s NEVER OVER…

  32. avatar PeterK says:

    Winning is hard to define. I feel like our society and the world has lost a lot of it’s love of liberty. Too much “society over indiviual” garbage when society is in fact made up of individuals. If you take away our individual rights and responsibility, than what is left?

    Anywho. I think we are doing well. But we have a long long way to go.

  33. avatar dwb says:

    Have any of the 2013 laws been repealed or overturned? No? Then not. 1 step forward after 3 steps back is losing.

  34. avatar John in Ohio says:

    In the overall status of individual Liberty, we are losing ground at a dangerous rate. As far as the RKBA, I think we are gaining ground. IMHO, the RKBA is the most crucial of constitutionally protected rights. However, I cannot ignore how much we have lost in other areas. The free exercise of the RKBA is only one declaration of martial law, one declared “disaster”, one lockdown, one felony, one major economic collapse, one restraining order, one “reasonable” articulable suspicion, one “officer safety” concern, etc away from being promptly and totally infringed. I fight foremost for the free exercise of the individual right to keep and bear arms but I also fight for other rights because tyranny is still bearing down on us like a run away freight train. If we do not succeed in restoring the exercise of all constitutionally protected individual rights, the People are eventually going to have to decide between using those arms they keep and bear or submit to tyranny.

  35. avatar Nor'Easter says:

    Are We Winning? I’d have to say both yes and no. There are 2 main factors in this debate.

    1/ The Great Divide Between Rural and Urban …..
    Wherever the concrete turns to gravel and dirt we are doing fine. The Southern and Western States are friendly as well as the backwoods parts of the North. The main problems are those states with large urban centers which dominate their rural parts, i.e. Illinois, California or New York as well as some “toss-ups” such as Colorado and Virginia.
    Much of this problem goes back to the Supreme Court decision of Reynolds v. Sims in 1964 which removed the power of the (usually) rural dominated State Senates to fight off the radicalism of the “Urban Masses”. Fixing this would require a Constitutional Amendment so all we can do in the meantime is to battle it out politically and legally as best we can.

    2/ The Happy Results of the Heller and McDonald Decisions …….
    Whatever its shortfalls, the main point of both of them – that the 2nd Amendment is indeed an individual right – removes the previously endless go-arounds with the antis and puts us on a solid footing. The unfortunate part is that by allowing “reasonable restrictions” without adequate clarification the grabbers will find and try to pass any impediment they can think of to reduce us all to a sense of aggravation and hopelessness where we just give up. Again the only recourse is constant vigilance along with political and legal pressure to battle all such efforts.

    So there it is, let’s rejoice in our victories and persevere in our efforts. It’s so encouraging to read so many helpful and considered responses. That’s the spirit! We must all pull together and not waste time on useless bickering, mindless trolling or pedantic palaver. As you so rightly noted – it works!

  36. avatar Texas Yankee says:

    Ask most ttag readers and I suspect they’d say yes. Ask the country and you’d probably get a different response.

  37. avatar Chuck in IL says:

    Overall, we are going in the right direction. Ever vigilant are words to live by, and we must continue to fight. We need to start looking at rolling back parts of the NFA and the gun control bullshit that came about at the end of the 60’s. Some in Illinois say forget about silencers, we need to expand the places we are allowed to carry. I say why can’t we do both, and more? Offense, offense offense. Keep the libs on THEIR heels.

  38. avatar foo dog says:

    Been reading Instapundit since before 9/11/01.
    Insightful, witty, ahead of the trend, consistently.
    Nice guy, too.

    Per his point on winning: seems like a relevant place to drop this in:

    H/t Calguns forum.

    Might be worth a TTAG article, or a place in tab “Facts About Guns”?

    1. avatar SteveInCO says:

      The money point from that link:

      “To put it another way, a 9th district ruling in favor of Peruta would essentially halve the number of individuals in this country who cannot exercise the right to armed self-defense.

      “Brining California into the fold (or if you like, dragging them kicking and screaming into recognizing the Constitutional rights of its citizens) would reduce the population of forcibly disarmed persons from 25% to a little over 13%, a nearly 12% reduction. By way of comparison, when Illinois was forced to do the same after the McDonald decision, this represented a 4% reduction in the forcibly disarmed nationally.”

  39. avatar Bob says:

    We’re not winning or losing. We’re becoming more divided, more polarized. In some states, our rights are improving, while in other states, gun rights are being more restricted.

    One of the constitutional responsibilities of the Federal government, executive branch, is to enforce the decisions of the Federal courts onto the states which resist those decisions. In the ’60s, President Johnson ordered the National Guard to enforce the anti-segregation decision onto the schools of the deep south. Now a days, if a state wants to ignore a decision of a federal court (even the SCOTUS), there is nothing done to stop them. Our current President is truly lawless, and he should be impeached for ignoring his responsibility to enforce the laws of the US.

  40. avatar JohnF says:

    I think overall we are gaining ground, but we have not “won” and I don’t think we ever will. I think this conflict will go on forever, with wins and losses on both sides. We must keep up the fight, because we could be dealt a major defeat at any time. One presidential election, one SCOTUS decision, could negate everything we’ve gained in the last 20 years.

  41. avatar Jim Bullock says:

    “The anti gun stigma is stronger than ever among the average Joe, and though gun people’s ranks might have grown, the control groups are still more motivated than they have been in decades.”

    Breitbart said “Culture is upstream of politics.” That’s not a new thought: see every single attempt at cultural or legal reformation that we know of.

    Upstream of “guns aren’t these evil things, they’re just things” are the twin notions that people should be able to take care of themselves, and are responsible for doing so, responsibly. We need to take care of the headwaters, or incremental, legal victories will get swamped eventually.

  42. avatar IdahoPete says:

    Watching this since the GCA in 1968, I would say we have made a good deal of progress in changing public attitudes towards the Second Amendment and civilian gun ownership. The “shall issue” movement, the failure by the left to ban “assault weapons”, the increasing gun ownership by women – all represent a major success story for us, but I agree – you never “WIN” this battle, because the “progressives” will never give up in their attempts to disarm civilians.

    Never stop fighting, never take liberty for granted.

  43. avatar Paelorian says:

    I’ll think we’re winning if I can flip through TV channels and expect it’s more likely that I’ll see guns represented as positive rather than negative. Right now American public communication and media is overwhelmingly negative. Even in the most pro-gun states the local media is moderate and divided rather than generally pro-gun.

  44. avatar Raoul Duke says:

    I will consider us winning when I can buy a Norinco Type 97 bullpup rifle with 100% Chinese factory parts not being forced to shoehorn in American one’s for compliance and some Czech surplus steel-core 7.62×39 ammo.

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