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Arms-Bearing Can Bear the Defeat
The Second Amendment emerges from the election relatively unscathed.

By Dave Kopel

The Second Amendment has emerged from the biggest Democratic victory since 1974 with relatively little damage. One reason is that in races all over the country, Democrats returned to their Jefferson-Jackson spect for Dave Kopel. I think he is a tad off on this, in particular callingroots by running candidates who trust the people to bear arms.


I do not disagree that the Democratic gains in Congress will, on the whole, be harmful for the economy, and extremely dangerous for the war against Islamofascism.

Nevertheless, the class of pro-gun Democrats who will be joining the House and the Senate includes some who will eventually become party leaders, and who will help move the Democratic party back towards its traditional position of respect for the civil liberties of the American people. A very constructive development, in the long run.

The information below is based on the results as of early Wednesday morning. The ratings cited below are from the National Rifle Association.

Governors: In a year in which Democrats gained a half-dozen governorships, only one pro-gun incumbent governor was defeated. Pro-gun Republican incumbents who repelled anti-gun challenges included Schwarzenegger (Calif.), Carcieri (R.I.), and Douglas (Vt.). After trailing for months, Tim Pawlenty won a very close re-election in Minnesota, while Jim Gibbons survived a last-minute scare in Nevada.

Democrats Janet Napolitano of Arizona and Jennifer Granholm of Michigan were not considered friendly to the Second Amendment when they were elected, but they helped ensure their re-election by generally supporting Second Amendment rights during their first terms. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, Phil Bredesen of Tennessee, Brad Henry of Oklahoma, and Dave Freudenthal of Wyoming won their first terms by promising to protect Second Amendment rights, and they won easy re-election in part because they kept their promises.

In open seats, winners were pro-gun Democrat Culver (Iowa), and pro-gun Republicans Palin (Alaska), Crist (Fla.), and Otter (Idaho). All of the Republicans defeated candidates with weaker records on the Second Amendment.

Second Amendment activists did not achieve their goals of unseating Jim Doyle (Wisconsin) or Ted Kulongoski (Ore.).

In Maryland, incumbent Governor Bob Ehrlich was rhetorically pro-gun, but did very little to help gun owners. He was defeated by the “F”-rated Martin O’Malley. Next year, the gun-prohibition lobby in Maryland will make a major push to ban self-loading firearms.

The other major Second Amendment loss was in Colorado, where strongly anti-gun Democrat Bill Ritter will replace retiring Governor Bill Owens. In addition, moderately anti-gun George Pataki of New York will be replaced by vehemently anti-gun Democrat Elliot Spitzer.

Retiring anti-gun Republican Governor Bob Taft of Ohio will give way to solidly pro-gun Democrat Ted Strickland. Preliminary results suggest that the Ohio legislature still has a pro-gun majority, so prospects for constructive reform of Ohio laws — particularly pre-emption of local gun bans — appear good.

Net gubernatorial results: -1.5.

Gains: Ohio.

Losses: Colorado, Maryland, and half of one in New York.

Senate: With McCaskill taking Talent’s seat, we lose one seat for Second Amendment rights. In Vermont, Bernie Sander (“C-” rating) will take the place of retiring Jim Jeffords (“B” rated in his last election, but performed worse in his final term), so let’s call that a wash. In all other states, incumbents won, or were replaced by candidates who had nearly identical ratings on gun issues.

Net Senate results: -1.

Of the new pro-gun Democrats, Casey does not appear very deep intellectually, but Webb may emerge as an articulate, well-informed spokesman for America’s traditional culture of gun ownership. Jon Tester of Montana has Second Amendment views that are consistent with his state’s.

Assuming that Tester and Webb win, Majority Leader Reid will be one of a half-dozen generally pro-gun Democrats, along with Baucus, Ben Nelson, and Casey. The number of Democratic Senators who will vote against guns under all circumstances appears to be less then 20 (based on the number who voted in favor of allowing federal funds to be spent on gun confiscation during emergencies, even when the confiscation is not authorized by any law).

House: Pro-gun losses were about half the size of Republican losses — which is another way of saying that many of the Democrats who made the 2006 takeover possible are pro-gun. These include FL 16 (Mahoney), Indiana (Donnelly, Ellsworth, Hill), MN 1 (Walz), NC 11 (Shuler), Ohio (Wilson, Space), PA 4 (Altmire), TX 22 (Lampson), and VT (Welch).

Party control changed in the following races where pro-gun candidates were defeated by gun-control supporters: AZ 5 (Hayworth), CA 11 (Pombo), CO 7 (open), CT 2 (Simmons), IA 1 (open), KS 2 (Ryun), KY 3 (Northrup), NH (Shea, Bass), PA (Weldon, Fitzpatrick, Sherwood), NY 20 (Sweeney), WI 8 (open).

Net House results: -14, which would drop to -15 if Reichert (WA 8) loses his lead.

Several other districts had changes that were only a matter of degree: In NY 24 (open) an “F” rated Democrat took the seat of retiring “D+” rated Sherwood Boehlert. In FL 16, Shaw (“C+” rated) was replaced by an “F” challenger. The Illinois seat of retiring, and inconsistent, Henry Hyde was won by “A” rated Republican Peter Roskama. Democrat Peter Welch (“A” rated) of Vermont will take over the at-large seat vacated by Socialist Sanders (“C-” rated). The sum of the results in these four races is no net change.

There were, of course, many other tough races where pro-rights activists provided the volunteer work and votes that helped keep seats in pro-gun hands. Among these are AZ 1 (Renzi), CA 4 (Doolittle), CO 4 (Musgrave), CO 5 (open, Lamborn), Florida (Buchanan, Keller, Bilirakis), IN 3 (Souder), MN 6 (Bachmann), NM 1 (Wilson), Ohio (Chabot, Schmidt, Tiberi, Pryce), VA10 (Wolf), and WY (Cubin).

Many Democrats are now saying that 2006 is their 1994. Arguably so. The number of 2006 losses by pro-gun candidates, however, is very small compared to the number of 1994 losses by anti-gun candidates. Democratic victories are no longer synonymous with gun control victories.

— Dave Kopel is research director at the Independence Institute.
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Got a lot of respect for Kopel. Think he is way off base calling Arnold pro-gun, but he is trying to put the best perspective on it.
 

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Best way to keep 'em safe is to breathe down their necks and keep reminding them what they'd best let alone.....most of 'em'll flip-flop if they think noone's watchin'-more deals than Slimy Sam's Used Cars....maybe they'll rememember what happened last time and leave us alone...maybe....
 

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+1 on what sheepdog said. We as gun owners need to keep the email pressure on all of our senators and reps for the next two years--both Democratic and Republican. They need to know that we are watching and listening to what is going on. They need to know that we voters will
not tolerate any backsliding on gun ownership, handgun carry for self-protection, and the shooting and hunting sports .This last election has proved beyond any doubt that the American Voter has the power.
 

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We have had several pro-gun legislators re-elected or elected in Oklahoma this time. I personally know Senator Corn and Representative Ed Canady. They are two very fine people and both are Democrats. We need to be very careful putting a blanket label on a political party. I would hate to think all the members here that came from another board,and still post there were labeled as being like the entire board. The purpose of a two party (or more) system is to keep the other in check and give people a choice. That is what the voters did this time. They made a choice. I respect the right for anyone to differ from my views, but this board needs to be open minded enough to realize that there are going to be Democrat Members here as well as Republicans, and give them the same respect as the other. There are two things that people take very seriously, Politics and Religion, and I hope this Board realizes that and acts accordingly.
 

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Oh, bring 'em on, KP97DC-they can call us Reps and we can call them Dems-they can take the difference or they wouldn't be in politics-if they love guns, coffee, good food, bs, and the occasional lovely waitress-bring 'em on-the more the merrier...we'll find the common ground-haven't we always?! If I was a political puppy, I'd love to get on a forum like this one-get the real feel for the gunloving Americans-know how they thought-and how to get re-elected-which is as important to them as our gun rights are to us-we can do business.
 

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Tennessee's Gov.Phil Brednesden is Democrat --he was endorsed this year by the NRA, that's good enough for me and I'm a republican.
 

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One of the biggest problems with politics is the ISSUES have taken second place to the personalities-the man, woman, candidate, or appointee is attacked, rather than offering a better solution to the problem....mud's slung-everyone's dirty, and we still have the problem. The call today is not to play the partisan game but to attack the problem, make better decisions, and (gasp) serve the people who elected them....if they hear the call-they're statesmen first-party members a distant second.......One Voice...when the attack is on-don't debate the brand of ammo-just load the rifle.
 

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Just one old mans opinion, but I think we ought to just sit back for the time being and cool our jets. Lets see how some of these folks vote on the first gun issue that comes before them.

I tend to think most of the pro gun Democrats will stick to their guns, no pun intended, and vote as their constituents would desire and the reason they were elected in the first place.

I voted the Democratic ticket until the party took a turn and turned into a socialistic party. And the fact that my hero and my other hero, Lyndon Johnson and Robert McNamara sold us G.I's that were stuck in that hell hole called Vietnam down the river.

"Them boys can't bomb a ****house without my OK" still grinds my backside. I could have used the word outhouse but Johnson didn't and the media blurped it out. Of all the pompous, arrogant, opulent phrases for a Commander in Chief to make that has to be the worst in our countries history. Rumsfeld looks like H.U. Grant compared to McNamara.

There are two ways to fight a war like Vietnam or Iraq for that matter. Either you have to go in and turn it into a glass parking lot or do what we are doing now/then and suffer the consquences.

So lets just sit back and see what they bring to the table. We know what to expect from Pelosi, Klinton, Schumer and such. I think the Republicans learned a hard lesson. I don't know who said it but the statement "we came to Washington to change government and instead it changed us" is apropos. Some of the politicos got really big heads and forgot why they got elected in the first place.

Rant mode off, back to regular broadcasting.
 

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Can't agree on that approach-just like there's only one way to win a war-there's no percentage in wait and see when the one we let them screw up is one more step toward our rights...Better to tell them we know what's coming up-we want to remind you how you got there and if you like your job-don't mess up and begin whittling away at what's precious to us...why wait and let them win the first skirmish-make them afraid to even try it. When the big guy mentions whip your butt someday-"what's wrong with today ?" will stop that mouth fast....don't let them get a taste of victory-let them know we're watching and taking notes-they'll find another way to go.
 
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