At present, the majority party, the Republicans, hold fifty-four seats in the Senate. Those seats aren’t likely to shift much, and even if control does change parties, to get to the ability to push anything through would require Democrats to gain fourteen seats. Activists may dream, but transitions like that don’t happen all that often. The advantage in the House of Representatives is far greater and even less likely to change.
So if Clinton wins, she will face opposition in Congress of the same kind and with longer experience than Obama received, and will start out without two years of grace. Republicans may give ground on matters of budgets and entitlements, and in fact, on these subjects, compromise is a desirable end. But in the same way that Obama has not been allowed to do much to advance the cause of gun control, Clinton would not, either, without her party in sufficient control of Congress.
And then there’s the Supreme Court. As I’ve discussed before, the concept of stare decisis, otherwise known as precedent, makes reversing course on Heller and McDonald has building inertia against such a choice. Several rulings have come on the basis of those two key decisions. But is a one eighty turn possible? Yes. And if that happened, if the court found that the Second Amendment does not protect an individual right, there would have to be legislation passed to provide the federal government the authority to impose new gun control, and this takes us back to Congress. Executive orders would allow changes supported in current law, but Congress retains the power of the purse and the power to pass new laws.
This brings us to the states. For the sake of encouragement, consider the progress of the ability to exercise legally our right to carry firearms. We’ve reached the point at which eight states do not require a license to carry a concealed handgun (sorry, but Arkansas isn’t quite there yet), and only eight states remain may-issue. Those are the eight states that are infamous for violating rights, and here is where a Clinton presidency could do real harm. The states that are already bad would be empowered to become worse. Some states that are currently squishy on gun rights could go either way, and states that protect rights would be likely to create more freedom.
Thus would the divide deepen. A president seeking to unite the country would protect the free exercise of rights that many value, while working to achieve real solutions to the problems we face from people who abuse the opportunities freedom provides them. But a divisive president is one we can survive through dedication to the cause. And by buying guns, teaching new people to shoot and to respect rights, and taking the fight to opponents of rights on all fronts—local, state, and federal.
The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of Guns.com.