Barack Hussein Obama has been re-elected president of the United States after winning nearly every swing state. Despite a rather close overall vote, Obama dominated the Electoral College, winning such key battleground states as Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Colorado, Nevada and Iowa. Florida is still counting votes, but he also has the lead there. Obama also appears to have done something many experts said he could not: win the popular vote. At last count he led Republican challenger Mitt Romney by 2 million votes in the nationwide tally.
So, sportsmen, what does this mean for us? First of all, we must recognize that neither chamber of Congress has changed hands. The Senate stays in Democratic control, and the Republicans keep control of the House. Therefore if you’ve been frustrated by the political gridlock gripping Washington, well, you might want to proactively gulp down a couple aspirins. It’s foreseeable that partisan bickering will again stymie energy reforms, the Farm Bill, and other issues of concern to sportsmen.
However, the question people seem to be asking more loudly is what a second Obama term means for the rights of gun owners. After all, it was just a couple weeks ago that Obama expressed support for a new ban on “assault weapons” and hinted at an opposition to “cheap” handguns. Will he introduce legislation? With the House in solidly pro-gun hands, now is perhaps not a good time to introduce it. If the House flips in two years, that could change, but at present the larger concern for gun owners is the makeup of the Supreme Court. Remember, the historic Heller and McDonald decisions were both 5-4 votes–in each case, just one vote preserved Second Amendment rights. Any changes in the court could shift the balance of power, jeopardizing future firearms cases and even leading to the reversals of Heller and McDonald. So, let’s hope any judges Obama appoints during the next four years aren’t in the molds of his first picks: Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor. Both have histories of vehement opposition to the Second Amendment and seem to prefer it didn’t exist at all.
It will also be interesting to see if Obama’s re-election results in a second “Obama Gun Boom”. Fearing anti-gun legislation, will Americans snatch up firearms and ammunition at the rate they did when Obama was first elected? Based on the comments being left on gun forums and on this website, it’s clear sportsmen are concerned about the future of their rights. Will that translate to strong firearm sales? And will the anticipated gun control that spurred it actually come to fruition? Those are the key questions we can expect to be answered during Obama’s second term.