Despite efforts of people such as former presidential candidate Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam the Second Amendment has made it through another year, although many in the firearms community will be glad to see 2019 in their rearview.
It’s been a year of momentous achievement and mind-numbing stupidity, with some remarkably revealing moments along the way.
‘Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR15’—Perhaps the most jarring act of political suicide came during a Democratic presidential debate in August when former Congressman O’Rourke, in a heat-of-the-moment blurt declared, “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR15, your AK47,” as candidates were reacting to a question about guns and the shootings in Texas, at Odessa and El Paso.
What made O’Rourke’s remark so alarming is not that he said it, but that no other candidate on stage that night offered a rebuke. It was a defining moment for the Democrats. As Alan Gottlieb with the Second Amendment Foundation noted, the moment translated to essential approval of O’Rourke’s gun grab mindset. Henceforth, Democrats are no longer the “party of gun control,” they are the “party of gun confiscation,” according to Gottlieb.
O’Rourke subsequently dropped out of the race when his campaign quickly lost support.
‘Call up the National Guard’—Almost immediately after Democrats took control of the Virginia Legislature following a November vote that barely brought 40 percent of Commonwealth voters to the polls, Rep. Donald McEachin reportedly suggested that if sheriffs refuse to enforce new gun laws, the National Guard could be called up to do it. The proposal enraged gun owners. All but a handful of counties have declared themselves “Second Amendment Sanctuaries,” and something of an insurrection is in progress. Anti-gun Gov. Ralph Northam quickly revived his gun control agenda, apparently convinced that his new Democrat majority in Richmond will make it all happen.
Sanctuary Movement Spreads—No retrospective of 2019 could be complete without an examination of the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement. County sheriffs in several states including New Mexico, Colorado, Washington, Illinois and elsewhere announced they would not enforce gun control laws they believe to be unconstitutional. Anti-gun Democrats responsible for such laws demanded they be enforced, but without lawmen to back them up, something of a gun rights standoff has developed. The movement is biggest in the West, but dozens of Illinois counties, and jurisdictions in other states have come aboard. It’s as close to a civil war, say some observers, as one can get without firing shots.
Defiant Cop Challenges Governor—One of the more vocal opponents of new gun control is Loren Culp, police chief in Republic, Wash., a small community in rural Ferry County. Having declared he would not enforce provisions of gun control Initiative 1639, which was approved by voters in 2018, Culp authored a book titled “American Cop” and declared his candidacy for governor. His campaign quickly gathered momentum.
Federal Court Challenge of Initiative—That initiative was quickly challenged on constitutional grounds by the Second Amendment Foundation and National Rifle Association. They were joined by two firearms retailers in Washington state and some young adults whose Second Amendment rights were essentially stripped by provisions of the measure. Separately, a grassroots movement erupted as activist gun owners went on a crusade with their own measure to repeal I-1639.
Democrat Derangement Syndrome—When Democrats recaptured the U.S. House of Representatives, they quickly launched a year-long campaign to impeach President Donald Trump. With Nancy Pelosi regaining the gavel as House Speaker, and four upstart freshman women appearing to seize directional control of the party, the year-long push was on.
But the impeachment campaign has taken a toll, which may not be fully realized until November when Trump-hating Dems will stand for re-election.
Gottlieb twice insisted that Democrat zeal for getting rid of Trump was largely due to his judicial appointments, which will cool the jets of activist courts including the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco.
NRA Under Siege—The National Rifle Association became engulfed in several legal battles, targeted for investigation by the New York state attorney general and under fire from dissidents over reports of lavish spending. The annual convention at Indianapolis became a battleground as NRA President Oliver North stepped down rather than seek a second term in the midst of what has been described as a failed coup attempt. Veteran chief lobbyist Chris Cox was suspended over alleged involvement in this “coup,” and he subsequently resigned.
NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre has been under heavy fire following published reports of extravagant spending, but he has held firm, refusing to step down. This year, with the Trump presidency, US Senate and House in the balance, NRA members are worried the organization may have lost its clout, jeopardizing the right to keep and bear arms.
Weaponizing His Wealth—Anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg, took his gun control effort to a higher level by declaring his candidacy for the presidency. Having largely bankrolled Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun prohibition lobbying group, he has launched an advertising campaign highlighting his support for gun control.