There was good, bad and ugly in 2016 for the Second Amendment community, and many rights activists will be happy to see it gone.
Perhaps chief among the triumphs was the defeat of Hillary Rodham Clinton, the anti-gun Democrat who told a private fund raiser that the Supreme Court was “wrong” on the Second Amendment. Second Amendment advocates believe that keeping Clinton out of the White House, where she would have nominated anti-gun judges and justices to the federal courts, literally saved the right to keep and bear arms from being regulated into irrelevancy.
Passage of suicide prevention legislation in Washington State – a measure that was championed by Alan Gottlieb at the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) – was another high point. It was a bipartisan victory for Democratic State Rep. Tina Orwall that saw support from the National Rifle Association, and almost unanimous passage by state lawmakers.
Perhaps most of all, this new law is a victory for Prof. Jennifer Stuber, the co-founder of Forefront; Innovations in Suicide Prevention, which is based at the University of Washington. Her husband took his own life with a firearm, and afterward she reached out to the firearms community to enlist their involvement in suicide prevention.
This effort also accomplished something else. It forced the anti-gun lobby to acknowledge that roughly two-thirds of all those “gun violence” deaths it repeatedly complains about are suicides, not homicides as their carefully-scripted rhetoric would have the public believe.
The year produced one record after another in monthly background checks and gun sales seemed to skyrocket as the November election approached. In California, gun sales continued strong in anticipation of new gun control laws taking effect this weekend.
Concealed carry has continued to rise, as increasing numbers of Americans have taken renewed responsibility for their own safety. Attacks in San Bernardino and Orlando gave urgency to this new-found interest in personal protection.
There have been losses. SAF said goodbye to Ray Carter on May 29, when he lost a two-year battle with cancer. He literally devoted his final years to defending the Second Amendment, being impish enough to frequently acknowledge “If I think it’s funny, it’s probably a bad idea.”
Liberty Park Press was alerted this week to the passing of Brian Anse Patrick Ph.D., professor in the Department of Communications at the University of Toledo. A past speaker at the Gun Rights Policy Conference, author, firearms instructor and avid hunter, he also lost a fight with cancer.
Gun owners saw erosion of their rights in California and Washington, while Maine voters rejected a gun control measure there. Passage of a gun control measure in Nevada may be derailed because of language in the initiative, and a by-the-book reaction from both the FBI and Nevada Attorney General’s office.
When it comes to ugly, the political campaign season was so ugly at times that not even a mother could love it. Conservatives, and especially gun owners, have been maligned with regularity. In the wake of Donald Trump’s election victory, gun prohibition lobbyists are alleging that, “Trump is saying that in his first hour in the Oval Office, he’ll roll back even the basic protections we already have. He says that by the end of his first day in office, he’ll force every school in America to allow guns in their classrooms — exactly what the NRA has been begging for.”
That message, over the name of Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, also solicits donations to anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety.
As the year winds to a finale, perhaps the best thing is to recall the words of American icon John Wayne:
Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.