Sometimes, when a good legislator introduces a strong piece of legislation while in the minority, the reaction of some is to scoff. This begs the question: Should advocates push for strong legislation when we know it does not have the votes to pass Congress, let alone override a president’s veto? In questions of statecraft, one should defer to the adage attributed to Robert Harris: “if you find yourself stuck in politics, the thing to do is start a fight.”
Realistically, any half-decent legislation which would restore Americans’ gun rights would not get the votes to pass either chamber – and that’s in the unlikely case the leadership for the House and Senate even allowed such legislation to see the light of day for an actual floor vote.
Members of Congress usually are the most vocal and aggressive in the minority, in part because they know their bills won’t pass. In short, they can talk the talk without having to walk the walk. However, once they secure real power and get in the majority, their legislative priorities can change to maintaining control instead of rocking the boat. Rather than legislating how the highly informed parts of their base that elected them desire, they become fearful of offending independent and swing voters, who typically attach themselves to strong leaders making compelling cases.
Because so few members of Congress are genuine leaders, they abandon the Second Amendment advocates who helped them secure office just as soon as they face push-back from the those who voted the other way. These legislators much prefer to be cheerleaders from the backbench, rather than fighters on the frontlines.
This reality, however, is exactly why there’s never a bad time to introduce a good bill. In our case, if you get more members to introduce or cosponsor solid Second Amendment legislation while in the minority, that forces the squishes to get on the record. In turn, when back in the majority with the ability to pass pro-gun legislation, Second Amendment advocates can then hold them accountable for any inconsistency. If they really support pro-gun bills, then they should certainly support them when they have the ability to pass them.
Another reason we encourage members to introduce pro-gun legislation now, is so they have a chance to rehearse their defense of it. They need to learn who the allies and enemies are – who has their back, or who wants to put a knife in it. That’s why it’s so important for you to tell your Senators and Representatives how much you appreciate them when they sign-on to pro-gun legislation.
The great news is it doesn’t take much to make a difference in a congressman’s day. They understand that for each email you send, several other constituents feel the same way. If you call in, that’s even better. And if you happen to meet them in person, that likely counts for dozens, if not hundreds, of others who weren’t able to. So, when you contact your representative and tell them to vote pro-gun, you’re not just doing it for yourself, you’re doing it for others, as well. If they want to reelection, they need to have their finger on the pulse of all their constituents, not just swing voters and those championed by anti-gun media.
Now on the other hand, let’s imagine members only introduced good bills every ten years when self-proclaimed pro-gun politicians had control over both chambers of Congress and the White House. We know it probably won’t be that great of a bill because they only gave lip service for the ten years while they were out of power. They’re so used to compromising with the majority party to get crumbs, they have no idea what a clean piece of legislation would look like.
Were it not for Gun Owners of America pushing our “No Compromise” approach on the only Constitutional right that explicitly says “shall not be infringed,” politicians would be more than happy to throw bones to the anti-gun crowd, introduce half-measures that don’t solve any problems, and in turn create dozens of new problems instead.
Establishment D.C. swamp-monsters are exclusively obsessed with what can pass in a divided Congress, meaning they’re hyper focused on either meaningless change to the law, comparable to re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic, or completely capitulating to what the other side wants. They don’t operate on solving problems, only on how to appease their political opponents so they don’t get attacked as much.
At the end of the day, politicians are people too – believe it or not. We need to allow them time to mess-up and find their footing when the consequences are not as dire. Once they have power, there is little margin for error. If we think strategically over the long-run, it doesn’t matter if a bill doesn’t currently have the votes in Congress or the support of the president. As long as the legislation is well-written and support is growing, things are moving in the right direction.
When working on legislation, we try to think long-term. The anti-gun left is good at moving the Overton Window in their favor, and we have to fight back. By pushing things like the SHORT Act, we’re able to educate voters and elected officials on the issues our members care about. pic.twitter.com/sE6P3DS50W
— Gun Owners of America (@GunOwners) October 8, 2022
Don’t get me wrong, the correct time to vote for good legislation was yesterday, but recall Rome wasn’t built in a day. GOA has been leading the fight to repeal the National Firearms Act for decades. Back in the day, we were the only major pro-gun group, working with Rep. Ron Paul to sponsor this sort of legislation with maybe one or two cosponsors in the House. Now, we are working directly alongside a sitting U.S. Senator (Roger Marshall-KS), with several of his colleagues joining in the effort to go on the record to gut major parts of the NFA. That’s in addition to getting over 80 unique members of the House to sign on to repealing different parts of the NFA.
Last week GOA announced we were working with Senator Marshall and Representative Clyde on the SHORT Act.👏
Today, we’re breaking down what the SHORT Act does, why we need it, and how it limits the anti-gun agenda of the Biden Administration. pic.twitter.com/3KnaupeoND
— Gun Owners of America (@GunOwners) October 8, 2022
Good legislating takes years of effort to build real support, and GOA is proud to stand alongside Senator Marshall and his fantastic bill to remove Short Barrel Rifles, Short Barrel Shotguns, and Any Other Weapons from the jurisdiction of the NFA. The fact that he introduced it while in the minority shows this is a priority other Senators need to recognize. Remember, there’s never a bad time to start to pushing.
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