How Did the Election Impact the Second Amendment?
In all, Brady endorsed 113 House candidates in 29 states; the NRA endorsed 272 in all 50 states, including 36 (13%) in Brady’s top states. Conversely, Brady endorsed only three House candidates (3%) in their bottom seven states (Brady scores under 3), while the NRA endorsed 26 (10%). The NRA endorsement process was far more equitable, based upon candidates’ pro-rights reputations rather than anticipated outcomes.
As in 2008, it’s about local politics lining up with the Brady agenda, not a national referendum for gun control. CNN exit polls indicated that the economy was rated first (52% of voters) as the most important issue facing the country; gun control scored zero.
How did the NRA do?
Overall, the NRA scored an 82% winning percentage. But further examination highlights a trend that makes this number misleading.
The NRA endorsed many Democratic candidates because they stood for the Second Amendment under the anti-rights Obama/Pelosi regime.
ABC reported that some Republicans were “furious” over the NRA’s Democratic endorsees:
"In about a week, the NRA will find themselves on the bad sides of a few dozen new Republican members of congress. They have put their credibility – and also that of their members – on the line for the sake of ingratiating themselves with a bunch of liberal Democrats who are about to lose, and lose badly," said one senior GOP operative who requested anonymity to speak freely.
But by endorsing them, the NRA demonstrated that it stands by pro-rights incumbents, regardless of political trends. This loyalty indicates how the NRA will support those who promote the Second Amendment in the future. It’s how successful single-issue organizations operate. The Washington Post recently wrote that the NRA is “long regarded as one of the most powerful lobbying groups in town … .” Even the New York Times acknowledges this truth.
After the election, Chris W. Cox, NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action executive director, stated:
Last night was a strong night for the NRA and the Second Amendment. As a result, there will be an unprecedented number of NRA A-rated candidates in both chambers. With the help of our 4 million members, we have led a brick by brick restoration of the Second Amendment and made any opposition to gun rights into a political liability for candidates from either party. Our duty now is to ensure that whoever campaigned as pro-gun now votes pro-gun in the 112th Congress.
The NRA represents the right of the people – not a political party – to keep and bear arms.
Seventeen NRA-endorsed Republicans and 33 Democrats lost (50 total). Thirty-three NRA-endorsed Democrats lost to Republicans; 29 were incumbents, reflecting voters’ dissatisfaction with Democratic policies.
The winners of these contests were 32 Republican and 18 Democrat, reflecting the general shift in voters’ attitudes. Of the 30 Republicans who beat NRA-endorsees, 14 earned A grades and 16 “AQ,” signifying rookie candidates demonstrating Second Amendment support by returning exemplary NRA questionnaires. A 2008 election analysis showed that rookies with an AQ grade all earned an A grade in 2010 as incumbents.
Only 20 of 50 are losses for America’s law-abiding gun owners.
The House moved from an overall NRA grade of C+ in 2008 to B- in 2010. This cannot be considered anything but progress for the Second Amendment. There are 31 A-graded Democrats and 188 A-graded Republicans, making a straight majority on Second Amendment voting. Including 39 Republican and one Democrat AQ, gun owners have 259 solid House votes.
One last consideration: Five new House Republicans earned NRA grades of C or D, and two were Brady-endorsed. It’s curious that “GOP operatives” complain about the NRA’s lack of loyalty to them, while ignoring their own betrayal of the Second Amendment by supporting anti-rights politicians within the party.
That’s the difference between politics and principles.