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No Time to Back Off

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I’ve talked to quite a few gun owners over the last few weeks who naively seem to think that the defeat of Hillary Clinton means we no longer have anything to worry about. Nothing could be further from the truth. While we may have won this latest battle, the larger war of defending our rights is never over. Just look at the gun control measures passed in the very same election.

In California, voters passed “Proposition 63,” which outlaws the possession of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds AND requires background checks for those merely purchasing bullets! And unlike the old saying about Las Vegas, what happens in California does NOT “stay in California” — too often, their policies tend to spread, infecting the rest of the nation.

In Nevada, they passed a bill that calls for expanded in-person background checks on private gun sales and transfers, including those done online and at gun shows. Since felons almost never obtain their guns legally anyway, this so-called “universal background check” scheme will have no measurable effect on crime, but it will likely be the first step in expanded gun registration, leading inevitably to a massive database of gun owners. Note also that this measure won by a margin of less than one half of one percent — when we tell you that every vote counts, we’re not kidding.

On the plus side, Right to Carry has continued to gain ground. In a number of states, we have seen expansion of locations where we can legally carry — most notably in schools and on college campuses, something we have endorsed wholeheartedly. And for the first time, national reciprocity has a strong chance of becoming reality.

And, of course, the prospect of seeing the appointment of justices to the Supreme Court who actually respect the Constitution, particularly the Second Amendment, is almost a relief. True, even justices with what appear to be impeccable constitutional credentials can turn out to be disappointments. But there is little doubt that the judges we would have gotten under a Hillary Clinton administration would be disastrous for gun owners.

All well and good, but just last week, mere days before Christmas, Barack Obama’s Social Security Administration (SSA) issued the final version of a rule that will cause law-abiding citizens who are covered by disability insurance and/or who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to actually lose their Second Amendment rights by categorizing them as “mental defectives.”

According to the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, “The SSA, for the first time in its history, will be coopted into the federal government’s gun control apparatus, effectively requiring Social Security applicants to weigh their need for benefits against their fundamental rights when applying for assistance based on vaguely defined ‘mental health problems.’” This has serious repercussions for seniors, who are particularly vulnerable to crime.

Remember, in politics, things can always change. Two years from now, the makeup of Congress could change. The margin in the Senate is especially razor-thin. So, rather than falling into a false sense of security, and sitting back on our collective rear-ends, we should instead be using the current relatively favorable climate to “put the pedal to the metal.” We should relentlessly push for better protections as well as further expansion of our rights, especially when it comes to our ability to legally carry a firearm for self-defense.

Stay informed. Then make your voice heard.

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