The left was gung-ho for gun control in 2016, but in the process of pushing it they got eight things pitifully wrong and suffered huge losses.
Here are the eight:
- Hillary Clinton assumed that a gun control-based campaign was a winning campaign. Clinton ran on expanding background checks, banning “assault weapons,” allowing crime victims to sue gun manufacturers and gun sellers, placing more regulatory oversight on federally licensed gun dealers, and filling Antonin Scalia’s Supreme Court vacancy with an anti-gun justice who would support reversing, or at least tweaking, the District of Columbia v Heller (2008) decision. Clinton’s gun control gambit was so obvious that even gun control proponent California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom (D) warned that Clinton was “taking a big risk.” Newsom issued this warning in November 2015; the American people concurred in November 2016.
- Tim Kaine joined Hillary Clinton’s presidential run believing the NRA couldn’t beat them. When Tim Kaine joined Hillary Clinton’s presidential run, he was quick to say he did not fear running on a gun control ticket because the NRA had “never beaten” him. Breitbart News reported that this claim was a strange one for Kaine to make, considering the fact that the NRA had beaten him three times in the last three years alone. For example, he supported the Manchin/Toomey gun control push following the Sandy Hook Elementary attack and the NRA defeated it. He supported adding the no-fly list to background checks after the San Bernardino attack and the NRA defeated it. He against supported adding the no-fly list to background checks after the Orlando Pulse attack and the NRA defeated it. Then Kaine joined Clinton’s gun control ticket, and the NRA beat them both.
- Bloomberg & Co. assumed Maine residents would embrace more gun control for law-abiding citizens. On the very day that Clinton and Kaine were rejected by American voters a gun control push in Maine was also defeated. The gun control push, embodied in Question 3 on the state ballot, would have required Maine residents to go through a background check before letting a friend borrow a gun for hunting. It would have also forced law-abiding citizens to pay a fee for the background check, effectively taxing them for loaning a gun to a friend. The measure was sponsored by Bloomberg-funded Everytown for Gun Safety and Maine voters rejected it.
- Moms Demand Action thought a typical leftist PR campaign would prevent West Virginia lawmakers from adopting permitless carry. In 2015 Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America joined with Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) in a PR campaign that resulted in Governor Earl Ray Tomblin (D) vetoing legislation that would have legalized permitless carry for West Virginians. Moms Demand tried it again in 2016 and, although they were able to persuade Tomblin to veto the legislation once more, they were unable to prevent West Virginia lawmakers from overriding the veto. Thereafter, Moms Demand “criticized” lawmakers for overriding the veto, but lawmakers did not appear to be affected by the criticism.
- Moms Demand Action thought a typical leftist PR campaign would prevent Idaho Governor from signing permitless carry for his state. On March 14, 2016, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America launched a PR campaign to “denounce” an Idaho senate committee’s passage of permitless carry legislation. Moms Demand framed the legislation in their usual scaremongering fashion, saying it would “endanger public safety” by allowing Idahoans to “carry hidden, loaded firearms on the streets of Idaho’s cities and towns with absolutely no training, no criminal history check and no permit.” Governor Butch Otter (R) signed permitless carry into law on March 25.
- Everytown for Gun Safety thought a PR campaign would cower Mississippi legislators and derail permitless carry in that state. In the Spring of 2016 Mississippi House Bill 786 emerged as a piece of legislation that would allow permitless carry in “belt and shoulder holsters” and would also allow guns in churches for congregational defense. Michael Bloomberg-funded Everytown for Gun Safety ran a television ad against HB 786, claiming it “would not only allow some violent criminals and people with dangerous mental illnesses to carry hidden, loaded guns in public, but also put the lives of law enforcement at risk.” The success of this PR campaigned hinged on Mississippi lawmakers being silly enough to believe criminals were waiting for a change in laws before they carried the very guns they planned to use in crimes. It did not work. Governor Phil Bryant (R) signed the permitless carry legislation into law on April 15.
- Everytown for Gun Safety thought a PR campaign would cower Missouri legislators and derail permitless carry in that state. In May 2016 Missouri lawmakers considered legislation that would do away with the concealed carry permit requirement in the state. During this time, Michael Bloomberg-funded Everytown for Gun Safety ran television ads intimating that more criminals would carry guns if the permitting process were taken out of their way. Breitbart News reported that this ad campaign hinged on lawmakers being silly enough to believe criminals only carry guns in ways that are legal. The legislature passed the measure and Everytown enjoyed a moment of success as Governor Jay Nixon (D) vetoed it. However, that success was short lived. The Republican-led legislation overrode the veto in September, thereby abolishing the concealed carry permit requirement in the state.
- The Brady Campaign thought a social media campaign would prevent passage of campus carry for self-defense in Ohio. On November 29, the day after the horrifying car and knife attack on the Ohio State University campus, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence tweeted their opposition to letting concealed carry permit holders carry guns on campus for self-defense. Seriously, the very day after unarmed students were chased by an Islamist holding a butcher knife, the Brady Campaign voiced opposition to a change in law that would allow concealed permit holders to be armed should such an attack occur again. Ohio Governor John Kasich (R) signed campus carry into law on December 19, 2016.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of “Bullets with AWR Hawkins,” a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org