While Hillary Clinton made gun control an issue in Iowa, Republican winner Ted Cruz didn’t, and now on the morning after, could it be that her rhetoric influenced the razor-thin Democratic outcome, coincidentally on the same day that a prominent gun rights group pointed to the public’s increasing reliance on the Second Amendment?
The staunchly pro-gun Cruz hasn’t made a big deal out of defending the Second Amendment, and his win came with a record Republican turnout in Iowa. Clinton has been obsessive about gun control, and her coin-toss “victory” suggests that the rhetoric may not have fired up Democrats as she apparently hoped. Clinton has been a public figure for more than two decades. Six months ago, relatively few people had heard of aging Bernie Sanders.
Just hours before yesterday’s Iowa caucuses, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms noted in a news release that “reports from across the country about surging gun sales and carry permit applications is proof that the public is increasingly relying on the Second Amendment to keep them safe.” As this column reported Monday, Washington state’s active concealed pistol licenses reached a new high of more than 517,000.
But that’s not the only good news on the Second Amendment front, according to CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. He pointed to South Dakota, where Secretary of State Shantel Krebs reported that residents of her state are applying for concealed carry permits “at a record pace.” The Boston Globe reported last week that tens of thousands of new gun licenses were issued in Massachusetts last year, he added. As noted yesterday, Iowa residents are also arming up.
So there was Clinton last night declaring “victory” when she won by the skin of her teeth, largely on the outcome of those six coin tosses. Now, what are the odds of that? According to The Blaze, one in 64, or 1.56 percent.
The odds are much better that 2016 will see a continued surge in gun buying and concealed carry. As a local Fox affiliate in California reported, San Bernardino County Fist District Supervisor Robert Lovingood “says he wants to arm all eligible citizens in San Bernardino county…. Especially county workers.”
That reinforces what Gottlieb observed yesterday when he noted, “Add to this the fact that scores of sheriffs and police chiefs have encouraged citizens to arm themselves. Suddenly, gun ownership sounds like a very good idea to people concerned about personal safety.”
“Many Americans are learning for the first time that firearms ownership is a good thing, and they’re not about to give that up for feel-good gun control measures that have historically accomplished nothing,” Gottlieb said.
Into the middle of this social phenomenon Clinton has charged, pushing for more gun restrictions, declaring war on the so-called “gun lobby.” It apparently has not occurred to her that the “gun lobby” consists of millions of law-abiding Americans; her fellow citizens whose votes she is seeking.
The dust has hardly settled in Des Moines, and the winners, and some also-rans, have moved into New Hampshire. If Clinton isn’t careful, she’ll need more than a series of incredibly lucky coin tosses to eke out another win over Sen. Bernie Sanders. He’s got momentum because of last night’s results, and while he may not be a friend to gun owners, at least he hasn’t made bashing them a cornerstone of his campaign.
MEANWHILE, USA Today reported yesterday that Chicago, a city with the kind of gun control regime that Clinton seems to favor, posted the most homicides for the month of January since 2000. If that’s the kind of result people elsewhere can expect from a Clinton presidency that would emphasize gun restrictions, then it will come as no surprise that more citizens will be “arming up” between now and November.
Yesterday’s record turnout in Iowa demonstrated that this year’s election is going to have huge voter participation and interest. Millions of those voters are gun owners who do not take kindly to being demonized simply because they exercise a civil right, and wish to be left alone by the government while doing it.
Iowa was Round One in a political boxing match that could become a bare knuckles brawl by the time the conventions roll around in late summer. Gun rights versus gun control just might become the deciding factor in all of this.
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