A new Rasmussen Reports survey released yesterday says 54 percent of likely voters think it is possible Republicans will take the U.S. Senate this November, but if they do, what does that mean for gun rights?
An equally important question might be, what would that mean for President Barack Obama? The Drudge Report is running its own poll, on whether people think Republicans should impeach the president, and as this column was written, more than 72 percent of the respondents want the GOP to give Obama the boot. That poll, despite being unscientific, shows the president is in big trouble, and Democrats – the Party of Gun Control – are facing a crisis.
While it is doubtful there will be an impeachment if Republicans take over Congress - even House Speaker John Boehner is quoted in today's Washington Post pooh-pooing the idea - in many ways, gun rights might fare better with a GOP-controlled Capitol Hill. That, in itself, would be a major win for gun owners.
For starters, it could mean tougher scrutiny of federal judicial appointments, with particular attention to how nominees view the Second Amendment, and whether they will adhere to the 2008 and 2010 Supreme Court rulings in Heller and McDonald. A Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee would be far less likely to rubber stamp far-Left federal judges who disdain gun rights.
It would allow the Senate to reject Supreme Court nominees who may not believe, for example, that the Second Amendment extends beyond one’s front door. Adding one or two additional justices who understand that the right to bear arms means carrying a gun in public, across state lines, could embolden the high court to finally take a case involving carry outside the home.
Republican control of Congress could stop new gun control initiatives in their tracks. Polling in two New Jersey newspapers, the Newark Star-Ledger and the Jersey Journal, shows huge majority support for Gov. Chris Christie’s recent veto of legislation to limit magazine capacity. Michael Bloomberg's lobbying efforts would be money well-wasted.
It could revive interest in Operation Fast and Furious, the scandal for which nobody has yet been fired, much less face potential criminal charges. Attorney General Eric Holder might finally be held accountable by a Republican majority on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
If Republicans take control, it will be largely due to the gun owner vote, and the Second Amendment community will want something besides peace of mind for their efforts. A few things that come to mind are restoration of rights legislation, national concealed carry reciprocity, legislation to withhold federal funding from states that do not have “shall issue” concealed carry laws and state preemption statutes, and a meaningful background check law that includes interstate purchase of any firearm, including handguns.
After all, say many gun rights advocates, if a law-abiding citizen can clear a background check to buy a handgun in Bellingham, Wash., that same citizen would clear the same check to buy a handgun in Brownsville, Tex. This explains why states should conduct background checks only in compliance with a uniform national standard. If it is true that the overwhelming majority of citizens, including gun owners, support background checks, then these checks should accomplish something beneficial to gun rights.
By the same token, if a law-abiding citizen can legally carry a defensive sidearm in Seattle then he or she should be just as able to carry that firearm in Chicago, New York or Washington, D.C., activists argue. Recent violence in those cities suggests that honest citizens might need a gun while visiting.
Bill and Hillary Clinton’s reign was sidetracked after only two years with the 1994 Republican revolution. President Obama’s final two years could be a very long lame-duck period during which the president could devote even more time to his golf swing.
All it takes is for voters to exercise their voting rights, and fulfill their responsibilities as citizens.