The Framers of the Constitution specifically designed the U.S. House of Representatives to give the population of each state direct representation in Congress. House members not only represent their states, they represent the particular concerns of their districts within those states. This is why so many representatives remain staunchly pro-gun, even in states where anti-gun politics dominate densely-populated areas (and therefore the politics of the state as a whole). California, Illinois, New York, and Washington are examples of reliably anti-gun votes in the U.S. Senate that nevertheless feature robust areas of gun culture that contribute pro-gun votes in the House.
While the ins and outs of America’s electoral system may conjure memories of high school civics classes, knowing the details will do more than help you dominate trivia contests. They are fundamental to protecting your most cherished rights.
Members of the House face re-election every two years, so they have a high level of accountability. Needless to say, every other House election coincides with a presidential election, and a strong presidential candidate at the top of the ticket can benefit other candidates by bringing voters to the polls. Off-year elections, however, favor the party whose voters are most engaged and energized.
The number of voting U.S. representatives is currently fixed by law at 435, but congressional districts are reapportioned among the states every 10 years based on their populations as determined by a census. The states themselves also have some flexibility in redrawing electoral districts, a process that typically occurs after the results of the census are announced. Both political parties will do all they can to protect the districts they hold. And unless there is evidence of unconstitutional discrimination in the drawing of districts, the U.S. Supreme Court has signaled that this is the prerogative of the political process, not the courts.
Members of the House have certain special roles within America’s constitutional system. These include initiating bills for raising revenue and choosing the president in the event of an Electoral College tie.
What does this all mean to gun owners concerned about their rights?
In short, it means everything.
Maintaining a pro-gun majority in the U.S. House of Representatives is essential if we’re going to not just advance our rights, but also keep the hard-fought gains we’ve made.
And make no mistake, anti-gun activists will launch an all-out effort this November to do whatever it takes to win back control of the House from the current pro-gun majority.
Anti-gun members of Congress are counting on the progressive base’s visceral hatred of President Trump and his agenda for big turnouts at the polls. Their reaction to the president’s unifying and inspiring message at the State of the Union in January was a clear indication of their determination to resist him simply for the sake of resistance and to avenge their stunning electoral defeat in 2016.
In a CBS News poll of viewers, 75% said they approved of the State of the Union speech, while 80% said they felt the president was trying to unite the country, rather than divide it. Two-thirds said the speech inspired pride.
Yet as lawmakers chanted “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” following a litany of memorials dedicated to American sacrifice, courage, and heroism delivered by the President, anti-gun Congressman Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) fled the chamber in undisguised contempt. And he was not alone. An MSNBC pundit dismissed the president’s invocation of church, family, police, military, and the National Anthem as “tropes of 1950s-era nationalism.”
Even the Washington Post admitted that the reaction of many members of Congress was “embarrassing.” That certainly applies to the repeated scowls from anti-gun Minority Leaders Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).
The choice for gun owners this November is simple. We can sit idly by and watch the vengeful “resistance” prevail. Or we can re-elect the pro-gun incumbents who rolled back Obama’s Social Security gun ban, voted to protect the Second Amendment rights of veterans, sent national reciprocity legislation to the Senate, and stopped opportunistic gun control in its tracks.
For those of us who care about our fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, we must stand and fight – there is no other option.