If you watch most political coverage in mainstream outlets, the focus is on the presidential race. However, Congress has just as much impact as the presidency when it comes to legislation that can impact our rights. So which Congressional races should Pennsylvania’s gun owners be watching?
Senate – Bob Casey (D) v. Tom Smith (R)
While NRA hasn’t endorsed in this race at this time, it is certainly one where gun owners will want to pay attention. Sen. Bob Casey’s grade has actually dropped during his tenure since he made a deal with Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York to flip his votes as needed in order to ensure that pro-Second Amendment legislation is defeated, according to the Washington Post. Another factor that could be part of the dropping grade is Sen. Casey’s refusal to sign on to either one of the Senate bills to recognize concealed carry licenses around the country – even when there’s one offered by the Democratic sportsmen in his party.
Should Sen. Casey remain in office, gun owners need to make sure to let him know that he should be standing up for our rights, not cutting deals with anti-gun leaders from New York. We can also hope that his current rating also indicates that he may still opt to respect the Second Amendment from time-to-time. It just may take far more political pressure than gun owners have shown during his first term.
Congress, PA-17 – Laureen Cummings (R) v. Matt Cartwright (D)
If the voter registration models represent anything in this district, there’s not much question over who will win. Unfortunately, that could mean that Pennsylvania’s gun owners lose big should Matt Cartwright take the race. Defeating the previously NRA-backed Democrat in the primary, Cartwright has enthusiastically embraced gun bans and ammunition limits for sport shooters – including Pennsylvania’s multiple Olympic shooting athletes – as part of his plans for his time in Congress.
Democrat Matt Cartwright, a Scranton lawyer, said he does support an assault weapons ban, saying Americans donâ€™t need such weapons in their homes. He would also support â€œreasonableâ€ ammunition purchase limits, according to a statement released by his campaign.
Cartwright’s election to Congress could put the gun owners of Schuylkill, Carbon, Monroe, Lackawanna, and Luzerne counties in the crosshairs of his anti-gun agenda.
Congress, PA-6 – Jim Gerlach (R) v. Manan Trivedi (D)
This district is regularly a tight race, and though Rep. Jim Gerlach did manage to win this same race in 2010, the numbers still point to it being one of the closer races in Pennsylvania. Trivedi has repeatedly refused to answer NRA’s questionnaire that asks questions members in the district want to know about the candidates. Such a refusal to answer voter questions doesn’t bode well for those who want to see the Second Amendment protected by a Congressman who actually represents constituents. Big money will be spent on behalf of Trivedi, and gun owners in the district won’t know what their getting until it’s too late if he defeats A-rated Rep. Gerlach.
Congress, PA-7 – Pat Meehan (R) v. George Badey (D)
When it comes to representing gun owners who want to hold the Obama Justice Department accountable for Operation Fast & Furious that happened on Attorney General Eric Holder’s watch, Rep. Pat Meehan has used his background as a former U.S. Attorney to really dig deep into the scandal. He has not shied away from tough questions for the administration. His efforts and responses to NRA have earned him an A, and his opponent joins Trivedi in a refusal to even answer questions from NRA members. As party bosses in DC have decided to boost the profile of this race, it could become far more competitive as we close in to November. The districts gun owners won’t know what to expect should Badey manage a win this election.