Arms Alive

The Second Amendment triumphed on Election Day.

By Dave Kopel

November 03, 2004, 11:34 a.m., National Review Online. More by Kopel on the gun issue in the 2004 election.

Tuesday was a good night for the Second Amendment. Here is the summary, followed by state-by-state breakdowns. The results are based on totals from early Wednesday morning.

Senate Summary: Change from pro-rights to anti-rights: Colorado, Illinois.

Change from anti-rights to pro-rights: Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota.

This is a net +3 for the Second Amendment in the Senate — probably enough to pass a bill to prohibit abusive lawsuits against gun manufacturers, without crippling antigun amendments.

To be precise, the pro-rights gain is slightly more than +3.0, since the outgoing Illinois senator was only weakly pro-gun, and the incoming Colorado senator is only sometimes antigun.

House Summary: Pro-rights incumbents defeated: One in Georgia, Illinois.

Anti-rights incumbents defeated: One in Texas.

The House retains a solid pro-gun majority and leadership.

Governors: Shift to anti-rights: New Hampshire.

Shift to pro-rights: Missouri.

President of the United States: The people of the United States defied the United Nations, and reelected their pro-rights president. President Bush's reelection helps ensure that the 2006 United Nations conference on small arms will not become a back-door path to destroying the Second Amendment. President Bush will almost certainly sign any pro-rights legislation that passes Congress. After lawsuit reform, the most important bill would be the restoration of Second Amendment rights to citizens of the District of Columbia.

Alaska: Appointed incumbent Republican Lisa Murkowski won a tough race, keeping the seat in the pro-rights column.

California: District 20: In the Central Valley, antigun Democrat Jim Costa won an open seat.

Colorado: Democratic Attorney General Ken Salazar (rated D by the NRA) replaced retiring Republican Ben Nighthorse Campbell, who was usually pro-gun. Salazar will likely vote wrong on any close issue, but will sometimes cast easy pro-gun votes.

District 3:Ken Salazar's older brother John served one term in the Colorado House of Representatives, and always voted pro-gun. He won an open seat to replace retiring Rep. Scott McInnis.

Initiative #36:An initiative to apportion Colorado's electoral votes was defeated nearly 2-1.

Florida: Retiring antigun Senator Bob Graham will be replaced by pro-gun Republican Mel Martinez.

Georgia: Pro-gun Republican Johnny Isakson replaced retiring pro-gun Democrat Zell Miller. No net change in likely Senate votes, but the handover does mark the loss of Miller as a national spokesman on the issue.

District 12:Pro-gun Savannah freshman Republican Max Burns was defeated by Democrat John Barrow (rated C by the NRA).

Illinois: Strongly antigun Democrat Barack Obama replaces slightly pro-gun retiring Republican Peter Fitzgerald. The result is a setback for gun rights, but a positive development for the national body politic. The patriotic and positive Obama will replace the quasi-criminal, racist demagogues Al Charlatan and Jesse Jackson as the media-designated top black spokesman.

District 8:Absolutely pro-gun Republican Phil Crane was first elected in 1969, but ran out energy and traveled abroad much too often for the tastes of his district. He was unseated by antigun Democrat Melissa Bean, in her second try.

Indiana: Pro-gun Republican Mitch Daniels won an open governor's seat.

District 8:Outstanding pro-gun leader John Hostettler was reelected in one of the most important House races for Second Amendment issues.

District 9:Pro-gun incumbent Democrat Baron Hill appears to be very narrowly losing to pro-gun challenger Mike Sodrel.

Kentucky: District 4:Pro-gun Republican Geoff Davis won an open seat against a strongly antigun opponent.

Louisiana: Pro-gun Republican David Vitter won over 50 percent in the open primary, obviating the need for a December runoff. He replaces the usually antigun retiring Democrat John Breaux.

District 3:Democrat Charlie Melancon will face Republican Billy Tauzin III in the runoff. Both are pro-gun.

District 7:In the runoff, pro-gun Democrat Willie Mount will face pro-gun Republican Charles Boustany.

A state constitutional amendment to guarantee the right to hunt, trap, and fish was approved with 81 percent.

Missouri: Antigun incumbent Governor Bob Holden was defeated in the Democratic primary by antigun Claire McCaskill. She in turn was defeated by pro-gun Republican Matt Blunt.

Missouri's lieutenant governor is elected on a separate line. Very strongly pro-gun Republican Peter Kinder beat antigun Democrat Bekki McDowell Cook.

Montana: Pro-gun Democrat Brian Schweitzer was elected governor.

New Hampshire: The only incumbent governor to lose on Tuesday night was pro-gun Republican Craig R. Benson, who was defeated by John Lynch.

New York: District 27: In Buffalo, pro-gun Democrat Brian Higgins won an open seat.

District 29:Pro-gun Republican State Senator Randy Kuhl won an open seat.

North Carolina: Retiring antigun Senator John Edwards is replaced by pro-gun Republican Richard Burr.

Oklahoma: Republican pro-gun leader Tom Coburn wins this open seat, replacing the retiring pro-gun Senator Don Nickles. A slight gain, given Coburn's energy on the issue.

Pennsylvania: District 8:Bucks County pro-gun Republican Michael Fitzpatrick won an open seat against antigun Democrat Virginia Schrader. Schrader tried to make the race a referendum on abortion, in this suburban and pro-choice district. But she was dragged down by her decision to hold a screening of Fahrenheit 9/11as a fundraiser. Republicans ran ads pointing out that Schrader was choosing to associate herself with a man who has chosen to accept assistance from the terrorist organization Hezbollah in distributing his film in the Middle East.

District 15:Pro-gun Pat Toomey's open seat was filled by pro-gun Republican Charles Dent, who is slightly less committed to the issue than Toomey was.

South Carolina: Retiring antigun Democrat Fritz Hollings was replaced by solidly pro-gun Republican Jim DeMint.

South Dakota: The Democratic Minority Leader adopted the antigun position of the majority of the Democratic caucus, rather than the pro-gun position of his home state. Had Daschle not done so, he would not have lost narrowly to pro-gun John Thune.

Texas: District 1:Pro-gun Democrat Max Sandlin was unseated by pro-gun Republican Louie Gohmert.

District 2:Incumbent pro-gun Democrat Nick Lampson also lost to a pro-gun Republican challenger, Ted Poe.

District 19:Another pro-gun Democratic incumbent, Representative Charlie Stenholm, was defeated. The winner was pro-gun Republican Randy Neugebauer.

District 32:The one result in Texas that made a difference for the gun issue was in the race between pro-gun Republican incumbent Pete Sessions and antigun Democratic incumbent Martin Frost, who had been gerrymandered into the same district. Sessions won handily.

Utah: Usually pro-gun Republican Jon Huntsman won an open governor's seat.

Washington: In the race to replace retiring antigun Governor Gary Locke, pro-gun Republican Dino Rossi appears to have come up a few thousand votes short of Democrat Christine Gregoire, who refused to answer the NRA questionnaire.

District 5:Pro-gun Republican Cathy McMorris won this open seat in Spokane, replacing pro-gun George Nethercutt, who ran unsuccessfully for Senate.

District 8:Republican Dave Reichert (rated B- by NRA) defeated a very antigun talk-show host to win an open seat.

West Virginia: Very pro-gun Democrat Joe Manchin won his first term as governor.

Dave Kopel is research director at the Independence Institute.

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