Once again, the NRA is crowing about how this election was “historic” for their side. They provide you with a few anecdotes from last week’s elections, one senate race here another House race there. But, we need to do a further breakdown of the races to get the best sense of the ways the gun violence issue actually played in the 2014 elections.
1. Washington State
Let’s start with Washington State. Voters approved a citizens’ initiative to expand background checks to all gun sales by a decisive vote of 59 percent to 41 percent. This occurred despite attempts by the gun lobby to confuse voters with an opposing initiative (which lost) and stern opposition by the NRA. When voters have an opportunity to vote on gun violence prevention policy, our side wins. Washington is now the seventh state to expand background checks on all gun sales, and the fifth to do so since the Sandy Hook tragedy in 2012. Clearly, there is undeniable momentum at the state level on background checks.
2. Governors with gun-sense re-elected
Governors who signed into law legislation to expand Brady background checks to all gun sales won re-election in the face of heavy opposition from the corporate gun lobby. The gun industry and the NRA targeted Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy for defeat and the NRA targeted Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper for defeat, but gun violence prevention was the political high ground and both Malloy and Hickenlooper were victorious. Additionally, Governors Jerry Brown of California and Andrew Cuomo of New York easily won re-election after signing into law major gun reforms in their respective states.
3. Background check supporters re-elected in the House and Senate
In the U.S. House, a whopping 97 percent of cosponsors (158 of 163 cosponsors) of H.R. 1565, legislation to expand Brady background checks won re-election with only three races yet to be called. In the U.S. Senate, 10 of 12 Senators who voted in favor of the Manchin-Toomey amendment to expand background checks won re-election.
It’s complete falsehood for the NRA to say that, “a clear takeaway from these elections is that candidates who support gun control do so at their political peril.” Huh? The corporate gun lobby likes to gloss over the facts and spin it their way. But, in this case, the numbers don’t lie. Supporting commonsense gun laws not only makes for good policy that creates a safer nation, but it also proves to be good politics.
The truth and momentum are clearly on our side as we continue to fight to “Finish the Job” and expand background checks on all gun sales nationally