Tuesday’s election was an historic victory for the pro-gun community. Trump’s success, combined with Republican control of both the House and the Senate, all but guarantees the protection of Second Amendment rights for at least the next four years and potentially for generations to come.
But it wasn’t a complete victory.
As we reported last week, the anti-gun industry spent tens of millions of dollars in an attempt to pass ballot initiatives in four states: Maine, Washington, Nevada, and California. While Maine residents rejected the gun control measure, gun rights took a major blow in the remaining states.
First, the good news. Maine’s ballot measure would have expanded the background check requirement to all private sales. According to FollowTheMoney.org, a Michael Bloomberg-funded group raised $4,349,816 in support of the measure while opponents only managed to raise $50,347. Despite this massive disparity, the Second Amendment prevailed—but only by the narrowest of margins. Fifty-two percent of voters rejected the measure while 48 percent voted in favor.
The spread in Nevada was even closer, but the Second Amendment community there was not so fortunate. Nevada was voting to expand background checks as well, though their measure exempted immediate family members from the requirement. Voters approved the measure with 50.4 percent voting in favor and 49.6 voting against. That .8 percent difference represents less than 10,000 voters, despite the fact that pro-gun proponents were outspent by over $15 million.
In Washington and California, Bloomberg’s money made a more obvious impact. Over seventy percent of Washingtonians voted to allow the courts to unilaterally seize firearms from individuals they deem to be a threat. Police, family members, or “household members” simply have to convince a judge a person is dangerous for his or her constitutional rights to be revoked.
As per usual, Californians were voting on a full slate of measures, the worst of which required background checks on the purchase of ammunition. Over sixty-two percent of voters approved the measure.
The anti-gun industry has been defeated at every level of governance. From the presidency to Congress to state legislatures, voters have overwhelmingly sided with the Second Amendment. Seeing this reality, Bloomberg and crew have adopted a new strategy, the success of which we’ve seen in Nevada, Washington, and California.
Money determines the success of ballot measures. In these three states, the pro-Second Amendment community was outspent by a combined $23 million. That money went to advertisements and PR campaigns designed to manipulate and misinform the public, and the strategy worked.
Tuesday’s electoral victory is cause for celebration but not for inaction. The anti-gun industry isn’t giving up—they’re just changing the scene of engagement. If we want to maintain our Second Amendment rights, we’ll have to meet them on this new battlefield.