Before the election, gun rights activists were so worried Hillary Clinton would win the presidency that some of them bought extra ammunition and guns, fearing a crackdown on weapons, bullets, and magazines. They’re not worried now. Since the election of Donald Trump, gun advocates have been rejoicing, crowing about their political clout and and plotting ways to eliminate many remaining curbs on gun ownership and use as they await one of the most vocal pro-gun presidential candidates ever to enter the White House, the New York Times reports. “We’ve been threatened. We’ve been bullied. We’ve been ridiculed for eight years,” said Alice Tripp of the Texas State Rifle Association. “I expect the tone to change. If tone sets policy, then we’ve got it made.”
Gun advocates played a role in flipping the Iowa Senate from blue to red and helped defeat a ballot initiative in Maine that would have required universal background checks for gun sales. The National Rifle Association spent $50.2 million by supporting Trump and six Republican Senate candidates, and it lost only one race in Nevada, say the Center for Responsive Politics and The Trace. “Smart politicians … are realizing that if we don’t play ball with the Second Amendment we will find ourselves unemployed,” said Aaron Dorr of Iowa Gun Owners, which distributed information about candidates perceived as hostile to the Second Amendment in five State Senate districts. In each, the Democratic incumbent lost. In Kansas and Indiana, voters approved amendments enshrining the right to hunt and fish in their constitutions. Gun-control supporters say it is impossible to determine what role gun issues played in Trump’s victory, and they dispute that the election was a national referendum on gun rights. Of the four high-profile state ballot measures, gun-control advocates won three and lost one, in Maine.