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The Reload Staff Newsletter: What Did the Election Tell us About Gun Politics?

Charlie T Waite

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The election is over. The counting is not. But we have enough results to draw some conclusions from what we're seeing.

What we know is fairly interesting. Republicans are poised to take control of the House. But they are doing so by a much smaller margin than anyone expected going into Tuesday.

But with guns a less-than-paramount issue in the broader race for control of Congress, we can probably glean a bit more from the key races where guns played a bigger role. The Texas, Georgia, and New York gubernatorial elections have all been called. And the incumbents won them all, but each win was not equally impressive.

Iowa's pro-gun ballot initiative also won. And by a huge margin.

I examine what those outcomes and the overall race for control of Congress tell us about gun politics in America.

Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman takes a detailed look at the challenges Oregon's gun-control initiative was up against. Those hurdles are why it remains too close to call even as of Thursday night.

We also had non-election news out of New York right before election day. A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction against most of the controversial provisions of the state's new gun-carry law. And he refused to issue a stay, which means the block immediately went into effect.

Plus, Josh Kraushaar of Axios joins the podcast to give his view of what races really matter for judging the influence of gun politics in the election.

And you can bid on a range day with me! All funds will go towards Homes for Our Troops, a truly great cause. Check out the details at the end of the email.


Iowa Voters Overwhelmingly Adopt Pro-Gun Ballot Measure
By Jake Fogleman

Gun-rights advocates in Iowa have cause for celebration tonight.

Voters have officially approved Amendment 1 by a margin of 65.5 percent to 34.5 percent, according to the Associated Press. The measure will add language to the Iowa state constitution guaranteeing an individual right to keep and bear arms. It also imposes a heightened standard of review for judges faced with challenges to gun-control measures.

“The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The sovereign state of Iowa affirms and recognizes this right to be a fundamental individual right. Any and all restrictions of this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny,” the added language reads.

Click here to continue reading.


Analysis: What the Election Tells us About Gun Politics [Member Exclusive]
By Stephen Gutowski

The election has come but not yet gone. What can we glean about gun policy from the not-quite-complete results we have?

Guns weren’t a top issue for most voters or in most races. But there are a few contests that should be able to shed some light on the impact of gun politics this election.

As we dive into the results, there are two important things to keep in mind. First, we don’t know the full outcome of several key races that will determine control in either house of Congress. Second, winning or losing is not the only thing that matters in reading the tea leaves; how a candidate or initiative performed against expectations will likely matter even more to governing priorities and strategies for future campaigns.

If you're a Reload Member, click here to read more. If not, join today for exclusive access!


Beto O’Rourke Loses Texas Governor Race
By Stephen Gutowski

Hell no, he’s not going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.

That’s one of the key takeaways from Democrat Beto O’Rourke’s failed campaign to unseat Republican incumbent governor Greg Abbott. Multiple outlets called the race for Abbott shortly after polls closed in the state, though the margin of victory will not be determined for a while. Whatever the final margin, it will be O’Rourke’s third consecutive loss in a high-profile race.

The defeat could spell trouble for O’Rourke’s future political prospects, but it may be even more detrimental to his strategy of embracing gun confiscation. How close O’Rourke comes to Abbott’s final tally will likely determine how radioactive that stance will become in the aftermath of the race. If he loses by double digits, as some closing polls had predicted, other Democrats could shy away from more aggressive gun-control policies–at least in potentially competitive races.

Click here to read the rest of the story.


Kemp Again Defeats Abrams in Georgia
By Stephen Gutowski

Georgia’s Brian Kemp (R.) has held on to the Governor’s mansion.

For the second time in as many elections, Kemp defeated Democrat Stacey Abrams. Multiple outlets have called the race in Kemp’s favor, though the final margin will likely take a while longer to tabulate.

The final margin will provide more insight into how impactful the outcome will be on future election strategies. However, one clear takeaway is the race’s focus on gun policy did not help Abrams pull off a win. The campaign was one of the highest-profile to feature guns as a top issue, and the substantial policy differences between Kemp and Abrams made it a bellwether for gun policy.

Click here to read the full piece.


Hochul Defeats Zeldin in New York Governor’s Race
By Jake Fogleman

There won’t be an upset tonight in the Empire State.

Democrat Kathy Hochul will retain her seat as the Governor of New York. Multiple news outlets have called the race for Hochul, though a sizable portion of the vote is still outstanding as of early Wednesday morning. Hochul took to Twitter to declare victory late Tuesday night.

“I’m deeply honored to be elected Governor of the State of New York,” her account tweeted.

The victory pours cold water on GOP hopes for a surprise victory in a state where they have not held the Governor’s mansion since 2006. Hochul’s Republican challenger Lee Zeldin surged in the polls late in the race after trailing by double digits for most of the campaign. A Trafalgar poll from earlier this month showed Zeldin leading in the race by less than a point, and election forecaster RealClearPolitics had moved the race to a “toss-up” less than a week out from election day.

Click here to read the rest.


Latest New York Gun-Carry Law Ruled Unconstitutional Too
By Stephen Gutowski

A federal judge has found the bulk of the gun-carry law New York instituted in response to the Supreme Court striking down its previous law also violates the Second Amendment.

On Monday, Judge Glenn Suddaby of the Northern District of New York issued a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of the law’s most controversial provisions. He also refused to issue a stay on his decision to enjoin what he described as a “patently unconstitutional” law, which means the state will not be able to enforce the impacted rules unless and until a higher court intervenes.

“[A]lthough the Court in no way suggests that America lacks a historical tradition of firearm-licensing schemes, it finds (based on the current briefing of the parties) that America lacks a historical tradition of firearm-licensing schemes conferring open-ended discretion on licensing officers,” Judge Suddaby wrote.

Click here to read more.


Podcast: Axios’s Josh Kraushaar on Guns and the Midterms
By Stephen Gutowski

The midterm elections are upon us.

As we’ve discussed previously, Americans are far less interested in gun policy than they were this summer. So, how will we be able to tell the effects of guns on the election? Axios Senior Political Correspondent Josh Kraushaar joins the show to talk about where we should focus our attention.

Plus, Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman and I talk about Beto O’Rourke’s struggle in Texas and Brady’s new spending in two House races.

You can listen to the show on your favorite podcasting app or by clicking here. Video of the show is also available on our YouTube channel. Members get early access on Sunday. The show goes public for everyone else on Monday.


Analysis: Oregon’s Gun-Control Initiative Faces Tough Fight [Member Exclusive]
By Jake Fogleman

Oregonians will have a chance to vote on one of the strictest gun-control laws in the nation on Tuesday. The ballot initiative faces an uphill battle, even in the deep blue state.

Measure 114 represents one of the most sweeping gun-control laws ever submitted directly to voters anywhere in the country. The measure aims to establish a new permit-to-purchase for all gun sales and ban the sale of some of the most popular ammunition magazines in the country.

The measure would require any resident who wishes to purchase a gun to first obtain a permit from their county sheriff, which they would have to renew every five years. To get the license, they would need to pay a $65 fee, complete a firearms safety course at their own expense, submit a photo ID, be fingerprinted, and pass a criminal background check. The measure would direct state law enforcement agencies to maintain a database of all permit-to-purchase applicant information, which would function as a de facto registry.

Additionally, residents would be prohibited from purchasing, using, transferring, or possessing ammunition magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds. Currently-owned magazines would be grandfathered only for use on private property and shooting ranges, making their continued use for public carry off-limits. Violations would be a class A misdemeanor offense.

If you’re a Reload Member, click here to read the whole thing. If not, please consider joining today to get access.


Bid on a Charity Range Day with Me!

I'm partnering with Homes for Our Troops again this year to offer a range day and training session for two people. I'll provide the guns and ammo. We can meet up in either southeastern Pennsylvania or northern Virginia.

I'm a certified firearms instructor. So, people of all experience levels are welcome. Anybody under 18 who wants to participate will need to have their parent or legal guardian sign a release.

All of the proceeds will go towards building houses for wounded veterans. So, you can have fun with me on the range AND help benefit an amazing cause! And, if you're not interested in the range day, there are a ton of other offerings from A-list celebrities like Jake Gyllenhall, Ben Stiller, and Paul Rudd. Check them all out, and I'm sure you'll find something you'll want to bid on.

The auction ends soon. Make sure you bid today!


Outside The Reload

Fresh off of reelection, Illinois Governor aims to ban assault weapons | The Center Square | By Greg Bishop

Judge Accepts Biden Administration's Argument for Banning Gun Possession by Marijuana Users | Reason | By Jacob Sullum

Ghost gun advocates ask Fifth Circuit to let them fight New Jersey law in Texas court | Courthouse News Service | By Cameron Langford

Vermont towns seek local control over gun laws, eye preemption repeal | VTDigger | By Patrick Crowley

Columbus mayor, city council members unveil magazine ban, storage mandate | Bearing Arms | By Cam Edwards

Second Amendment Challenge to University of Michigan Gun Ban | Reason | By Eugene Volokh

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