With the collapse (for now) of the Democrat majorities in Saint Paul and Washington, and especially the election of a pro-2nd-Amendment president, with the concomitant appointment of a suitably pro-2nd-Amendment replacement for Antonin Scalia, the threat to our Second Amendment rights has ebbed just a bit. The pace of gun purchases and carry permit applications has slackened a bit. You can find ammo on the shelves again. You can find a decent AR-pattern rifle for less than the cost of a quality handgun.
The immediate, existential threat to a right that separates citizen from subject has faded just a bit.
And it shows.
This past legislative session, with a bipartisan pro-2nd Amendment majority in Saint Paul, not a single gun bill advanced through the GOP-controlled legislature. Two excellent bills – a self-defense reform bill (aka “Stand Your Ground”), which would have lessened the requirement to be a lawyer to use a gun in self-defense, and a Constitutional Carry bill – stalled in the House.
Part of the blame rests with Senate Majority Leader Warren Limmer, who made it clear early in the session that he didn’t want to risk his one-vote majority on “risky” bills that would expose his vulnerable freshmen to controversial votes.
Four years before the next Senate election. In a session where his Senators wijll be as far-removed from re-election pressure as it’s possible to be.
But OK – part of the job of the majority leader is to keep the majority; to win elections. And part of politics is picking your battles, and drawing as few targets on your people as possible. And the GOP in the legislature remembers what happened in 2012, when they overreached on issues that were much more vital to many constituents than they were to the rest of Minnesota.
So risk-aversion is understandable. Right?
Yeah – but the Senate is hearing two bills on abortion restrictions that are going to draw Liberal Plutobucks and busloads of irate women in pussy hats to the capitol to vent their ninety seconds’ hate for weeks on end.
So the real question is, who are the real risks to the MN State Senate.
Judging by the legislation the GOP majority has agreed to work on, it’d seem leadership ranks those risks in the following, descending order:
- Pro-lifers, who turn out by the thousands for pro-life events at the Capitol, give until it hurts, and treat it as a life-or-death issue (as, indeed, it is) always. No pause. And who make their electoral muscle utterly nakedly visible every time they need to, by mobilizing money, volunteers, and (in most of Minnesota), decisive numbers of votes.
- The DFL.
- Second Amendment Groups. Because while nobody, but nobody, turns out the troops on the defensive like the shooters, when the alarm turns off, we all go back go normal, like the battle is won. We don’t turn up for hearings. We don’t donate money – MInnesota’s 2nd Amendment lobby has not one paid staffer; Everytown pays four or five people to organize the issue, full-time, in Minnesota alone. The good guys? All volunteers. And volunteers burn out, need to find jobs, get families – they do all the stuff real people have to do.
The pressure seems off now. But all it took was a decade of taking our eye off the ball in the seventies and eighties, and we very nearly lost the Second Amendment. The game can turn faster than a late-inning Twins lead.
There is no relaxation when it comes to protecting freedom. And when politics is your medium, you have very few friends, and an awful lot of people who need to respect you.
And sometimes, you gotta give them a reason to respect you – if not your reason, then your power.