The election of Donald Trump to the presidency has done nothing to settle the debate over gun rights and gun control. Advocates of control aren’t going away, and neither are those of us who own and carry firearms.
Trump’s win hit #gunsense activists particularly hard. Shannon Watts has taken to The Huffington Post to say that she wallowed in disappointment for two days before her husband “pointed out to me that being despondent is a luxury too many Americans don’t have.”
She’s claiming consolation in in a trio of referenda in Nevada, California, and Washington, two requiring background checks on all gun sales and one to allow removing guns from people under “extreme risk” protective orders, and in the defeat of Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire.
California comes as no surprise. The current governor, Jerry Brown, likes a lot of gun laws, though not all, and Gavin Newsom, the Lieutenant Governor, likes even more. And since the propositions before the voters this year further burdening gun owners passed by almost two to one, disarming good people appears to be a popular position in the Left Coast’s most anti-gun state.
Washington and Nevada are less clear, as is New Hampshire. The latter case may simply be a New England state that likes to be contrary. And states within a day’s drive of California feel a gravitational pull. But let’s admit that Watts and her fellow travelers have scored some points.
That’s easier to do when we keep the bigger picture in view. Watts mentions the Supreme Court, claiming that the justices have decided that gun rights come with responsibilities, which in her mind means any old gun law she wants enacted. What she doesn’t acknowledge is the high probability that several seat on the court will come open within the next four years with replacements being nominated by President Trump and approved by the Senate in Republican control. And in case Watts believes that the upper house may flip to the Democrats, she should check the map—the next election leans in the GOP’s favor.
What is more, Watts and her organization, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, calling her “the only candidate who has shown the backbone to stand up to the gun lobby’s extreme ‘guns everywhere’ agenda.” And we know how that turned out. How much the supporters of gun rights made a difference in this election isn’t clear, but the early indications are that in battleground states, the votes of the gun community were enough to tip the balance in favor of Trump and other Republicans.
The sad part of all of this is that Watts is unlikely to learn any good lessons from what’s happened. According to her, “this fight is just beginning, and an army of angry mothers will be there every step of the way to fight the extremist and dangerous ‘guns everywhere’ agenda of the NRA and president-elect Trump.” That “guns everywhere” line is one of her favorite clichés, and it’s a reality that she’ll need to get used to. She’s made it clear that she’s not interested in any solution that doesn’t involve more gun control. What the 2016 election demonstrates is that the anti-rights organizations are the paper tigers we suspected them to be all along. If Watts and people like her want to do real good, we’ll be here. Otherwise, we’ll continue winning without them.
The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of Guns.com.