AMAC Exclusive – By Seamus Brennan
With the 2022 midterm elections inching closer, Democrats are growing increasingly desperate to find a viable slate of issues that will resonate with American voters. After shuffling throughout the last several months between abortion, gender ideology, January 6, and other divisive topics as their banner campaign themes, the left now appears to be settling on gun control and attacking Second Amendment rights as their issue du jour. But as energized as the progressive base may be, when it comes to gun control, it may not be the political golden goose many Democratic insiders think it is.
In typically cynical fashion, Daniel Wessel, deputy communications director of the Democratic National Committee, accused Republicans recently of “once again choosing the gun lobby over our kids,” going on to say that “this is the contrast we’ll be showing voters every day from now until Election Day.” Robert Reich, a Democratic political commentator and former Clinton administration official, similarly suggested that guns could “awaken a slumbering giant for Democrats,” mobilize voters, and even “propel Democrats to larger majorities this November.”
But in reality, this strategy might have the opposite effect and serve as a rallying cry for Republicans, who are already poised to win back both chambers of Congress this fall.
Just weeks after a series of tragic mass shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas, Democrats have repeatedly revealed that their true intentions are not “common sense reforms,” but rather sweeping restrictions on the right of law-abiding American citizens to purchase and own firearms.
Far from working with Republicans to address serious mental health issues and harden schools, Democrats are shamelessly using these mass shootings to advance their radical anti-gun agenda. President Joe Biden, for instance, claimed that Second Amendment rights are “not absolute.” Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) similarly compared support for the Second Amendment to “an idolatry of violence” that “must end.” Cortez continued: “There is no such thing as being ‘pro-life’ while supporting laws that let children be shot in their schools, elders in grocery stores, worshippers in their houses of faith, survivors by abusers, or anyone in a crowded place.” Likewise, Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) called for “abolish[ing] the filibuster and pass[ing] gun [control] legislation now,” and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR)—rather than expressing sorrow for the victims of the shootings and their families—tweeted that he is “‘tired’ of conservative extremists” who refuse to greenlight Democrats’ gun policies. Most concerningly, a recent CNN op-ed called for a complete repeal of the Second Amendment: “Let’s just get rid of it,” the column stated.
Meanwhile, Congressional Democrats (along with some Republicans) are pushing a set of policies that could infringe on Americans’ Second Amendment rights while doing nothing of major consequence to prevent mass shootings going forward. So-called red flag laws, for instance—one of a handful of the left’s go-to policies on gun control, which would allow authorities to temporarily confiscate guns from individuals perceived as dangerous—could potentially deprive Americans of due process rights. As Amy Swearer of the Heritage Foundation has noted, even through there are, theoretically, “constitutional ways of temporarily restricting gun ownership for individuals who are clearly a danger to themselves or others,” most red flag laws being proposed in Congress and at the state level fail to meet a reasonable standard for due process.
Rather, Swearer continues, “Congress has other options it can pursue to help states deal with violence in schools, such as encouraging best practices on school security and ensuring cooperation between federal, state, and local agencies on behavioral threat assessment and related training. None of these options suffer from the same serious constitutional concerns as a federal red flag law.”
But as the left doubles down on this strategy, it is, in the end, only likely to bolster Election Day turnout among gunowners and conservative voters. As recent history demonstrates, when Democrats overstep in the realm of gun rights, they suffer massively at the ballot box. The infamous federal “assault weapons” ban, for example, signed into law in 1994, helped Republicans win control of the House, Senate, 12 governorships, and majority control in state legislatures. Furthermore, the last time Democrats pushed for stricter gun control in 2013, they lost a whopping nine seats in the Senate in the 2014 midterms.
Even some Democrats are starting to worry about the possibility that their anti-gun legislation could electorally backfire. “It’s a slippery slope that Democrats don’t want to be on the wrong side of, particularly for front-line Democrats,” one Democratic strategist recently told The Hill. “If you are a Democrat in a purple or Republican-leaning area, there is very little political incentive for you to go out on the ledge on guns.”
But for most Democrats, it seems, the message has not yet sunk in. Should the left continue to exploit horrific tragedies to go after the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans, history shows that they will pay the price in the voting booth. Just when Democrats can least afford it, another lurch to the left on the Second Amendment may imperil their chances of retaining power even further.
We hope you've enjoyed this article. While you're here, we have a small favor to ask...
Support AMAC Action. Our 501 (C)(4) advances initiatives on Capitol Hill, in the state legislatures, and at the local level to protect American values, free speech, the exercise of religion, equality of opportunity, sanctity of life, and the rule of law.Donate Now