While federal laws surely do impact Second Amendment rights, including our ability to buy, sell, and own firearms, state and local issues are of no less importance. In the recent Supreme Court ruling on Heller, for example, the Second Amendment as an individual right was affirmed. Yet, the justices also noted that lawmakers on all levels could place numerous restrictions on firearms and their ownership.
That means that state and local governments are, in many ways, where the actual, “on the ground” interpretations of the Second Amendment occur. And so we take a quick look at some of the state races of note, as well as states where gun rights look to be at stake, in 2008 and beyond.
For easy reference “pro” means a candidate with a pro-gun record, while “anti” refers to someone on the other side of the fence, as determined by groups like the National Rifle Association (NRA) and Gun Owners of America (GOA). “So-so” reflects a mixed record, while “??” means no records or statements have been found.
Delaware: An Open Seat, where State Treasurer Jack Markell, D (anti) versus William “Bill” Lee, R, (pro). Lee is a retired superior court judge, and a former officer in the Marine Corps, who fully supports the Supreme Court’s recent affirmation of the Second Amendment in Heller.
Indiana: Incumbent Mitch Daniels, R (pro) takes on former Congresswoman Jill Long Thompson, D (anti). Thompson received a “D” in the past from the NRA, while Daniels has supported and signed pro-gun legislation more than once.
Missouri is an Open Seat, as incumbent Matt Blunt, R, is not running. That has pitted state Attorney General Jay Nixon, D (anti) against Congressman Kenny Hulshof, R (pro).
Hulshof got an “A” grade from the NRA in the past, and signed the amicus brief in support of Heller.
Montana is one of those rare states where two pro-gun candidates are vying for the top office: Incumbent Brian Schweitzer, D (pro) taking on State Senator Roy Brown, R (pro)
New Hampshire has incumbent John Lynch, D (anti), against State Senator Joseph D. Kenney, R (pro). Kenny gets an “A” from Gun Owners of New Hampshire.
North Carolina is another Open Seat state. Here, Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue, D (pro), and supported by the NRA, against Pat McCrory, R (??).
North Dakota incumbent John Hoeven, R (pro), who has signed a number of pro-gun and pro-hunting measures, against State Senator Tim Mathern, D (??).
Utah incumbent Jon Huntsman, R (pro), got an “A” from the NRA, versus Bob Springmeyer, D (??).
Vermont incumbent Jim Douglas, R (pro), with an “A” from the NRA, goes up against State Representative Gaye Symington, D (??).
Washington State has incumbent Christine Gregoire, D (anti) vying with Dino Rossi, R (pro). Of note, in 2004, Gregoire did not answer an NRA questionnaire on Second Amendment issues. A businessman today, Rossi was a state Senator, and in 2004 received an “A” from the NRA.
West Virginia is another win-win state for the Second Amendment, as incumbent Joe Manchin, D (pro) competes against Russ Weeks, R (pro)
States To Watch
California: Anti-gunners in the state houses keep going after ammunition, trying to pass bills to mandate expensive and unproven bullet serialization, plus ammo sales restrictions. Moves afoot to expand bans on lead bullets, too.
Illinois: Cook County supervisors going after gun stores, while legislature mulls bullet serialization, banning high-capacity magazines, and more gun show regulations. Governor and Chicago mayor both anti-gun.
New York: When’s New York City Mayor Bloomberg going to stop his attacks on gun shops and firearms industry? Apparently, never. Recent discussions in the state house about firearms microstamping, another unproven and very expensive technology.
Pennsylvania: Add one anti-gun governor plus one anti-gun mayor of Philadelphia, and you get: attempted “assault weapon” bans, one-per month handgun buy limits, and cities illegally trying to make a host of their own gun laws. The NRA and others have Philly in court over many anti-gun regs the city has approved.
Washington State: Legislature keeps going after gun show “loophole.” Meanwhile, Seattle mayor is definitely anti-handguns, and is trying to keep concealed carry permitees from carrying on city property.
To read Part 1 of this special election series, The Senator from Illinois, Click Here.
To read Part 2, McCain and Gun Owners, A Strained Relationship, Click Here.
To read Part 3, Key Federal Races, Click Here