Is the presidential election at a tipping point? The recent poll from Gallup indicates that Mitt Romney has taken a sharp lead after the debates. Now the pundits are arguing over whether the poll is critically flawed. Others are pointing to the poll as evidence that Romney may over-perform in the raw national vote number while still losing the Electoral College. Certainly, other polls of swing states find the gap between the candidates is smaller.
Romney’s overall lead may be less than the poll has measured but there is no question that the race shifted fundamentally after the first debate, and that Romney still has the momentum after the second. The first debate did not take place in a vacuum, however. It coincided with the traditional point in the fall campaign when third-party groups begin to ramp up their own communications campaigns, speaking directly to audiences about the race in the context of issues those voters are known to care about. NSSF’s own voter education campaign is in full swing, by way of one example, reaching out to more than 6 million voters in key states. We’re educating them about the candidates’ records on issues near and dear to our shared interests of hunting, conservation, and the protection of our Second Amendment rights. Those issues, by no coincidence, are the same that will create a growing market to keep our industry healthy, while providing a stable business climate in which to we can cater to our consumers with the best, most innovative products. That, in turn, fuels an economic engine that creates well-paying jobs and pays billions of dollars in taxes in an otherwise moribund national economy.
The attention of voters who support the Second Amendment became focused to a fine point during the second debate when Obama stated clearly and concisely that he would work on bringing back the ban on modern sporting rifles if he gets a second term. But history is working against him this time. The gun ban of 1994 had no modern precedent. Now, the American people have seen firsthand that the arbitrary classification and outlawing of modern sporting rifles is not about public safety — but rather about ideology.
And when Mr. Obama stated that he was contemplating restrictions on called “cheap” handguns, the importance of the moment and this election became clear. Purely on the merits, Mr. Obama would be wise to look at his own city of Chicago to see that handgun bans do not work. From a legal perspective, surely he realizes that handgun bans are unconstitutional as the McDonald vs. City of Chicago case demonstrated. And he would be politically smart to note that there has not been majority support in this country for a handgun ban in more than 30 years. But the president heeded none of these warning signs in his rush to embrace a tired, failed approach to fighting crime.
Banning commonly owned firearms that hunters and sportsmen use may be popular with the media, but newspapers and TV stations don’t vote. Meanwhile, the rest of America looks on in skepticism. And the continued support for the Second Amendment among the American public is as an important story as the election. More people today support the right to keep and bear arms than ever before.
So has the election reached a tipping point? Has the president’s continued support for failed policies on guns contributed to his downward spiral in the polls? It’s certainly not helping him. Meanwhile, all evidence indicates that Romney’s embrace of the Second Amendment is boosting his candidacy, even despite — or perhaps because of – the media’s relentless but ill-informed harping on the issue.
On Nov. 6 the American people will witness whether our Second Amendment stands or falls. Elections matter and this election had a crystallizing moment for gun owners. Don’t risk your rights — #gunvote.