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Republican Platform Betrays Gun Owners

Republican Platform Betrays Gun Owners
S.M.Naeem/Shutterstock

When Americans head to the polls this November, many will cast their vote with the intention of defending, protecting, and further expanding the Second Amendment for all. Naturally, these pro-gun voters are overwhelmingly likely to do so by voting Republican. After all, Republicans constantly campaign that they’re pro-gun, and they’re the only thing standing in the way between the American people and complete disarmament by the Democrats. Unfortunately for those blowhards, actions speak louder than words, and the 2024 Platform just adopted at the RNC is wholly muted in terms of gun rights. This week, when the party released its new platform, gun owners realized the party gutted one of the core tenants that made Republicans, well, Republicans.

For the past eight years, the Republican Party had a detailed plan on restoring and expanding gun rights. It covered a wide range of issues tied to the Second Amendment. Previous platforms discussed the importance of landmark precedents like Heller and McDonald, and they conveyed the seriousness of appointing solidly pro-constitutional judges to the bench. They also laid bare how anti-gun jurisdictions are purposefully ignoring court rulings and how they must be stopped. They advocated for national reciprocity and the abolishment of magazine and firearm bans, including those targeting the AR-15. Heck, that was even classified as a priority! They condemned frivolous lawsuits against gun manufacturers and the harassment of firearms dealers. They even congratulated and promoted the passage of Constitutional carry legislation across the several states.

In summary, past platforms were clear and concise. They weren’t pages upon pages of written material, but solid principles that told voters where the Republican Party stood on the Second Amendment. Even more importantly, these platforms set a national directive to state and county level parties, and many acted. Platforms served as a tool that the politically active could use to beat back weak-kneed Republicans at the local and state level Plus, they aided gun owners across the country in advancing pro-gun legislation in their states. Look to the recent success for gun owners in Texas, South Carolina, Florida, and Georgia for example. These states finally used their Republican supermajorities to advance permitless carry legislation, after years of delays and outright failure under old Republican leadership.

Gun owners used the national party’s platform as a cudgel to politically browbeat those in office in those states. They hammered the point that if state lawmakers were voting against or blocking pro-gun legislation, they were going against the very core foundation of the party’s identity. That’s the importance of the RNC’s platform and the words within it, and why it’s so damning that this year’s platform nearly fully omitted this fundamental right. Gone is the clear and concise wording. Now, all that exists is a tiny blurb:

“DEFEND OUR CONSTITUTION, OUR BILL OF RIGHTS, AND OUR FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS, INCLUDING FREEDOM OF SPEECH, FREEDOM OF RELIGION, AND THE RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS”

To the politically illiterate, such a statement seems good. But the truth of the matter is it isn’t. Plenty of anti-gun Democrats have said the same thing. And looking further into the meat and potatoes of the new platform for the RNC, it appears that the Republican Party is adopting the 1990s-era Democrat Party platform. Look at the wording regarding government entitlement programs and healthcare too. Gone is the push for slashing the ponzi scheme that is Social Security or repealing ObamaCare. This sends a loud message to voters: what defined Republicans for close to a decade is now dead. In terms of gun rights, party leaders probably are foolish enough to expect blind loyalty from gun owners. They would be wise to reconsider.

Gun owners need to send a loud message to the RNC.

We are not to be taken for granted.

Our votes aren’t automatically theirs.

This platform speaks volumes, and we expect changes.

Again, the current wording and stance of the party today, is reminiscent of Democrats of the 1990s. Democrat politicians claimed to be “pro-gun” by saying they’re in favor of Americans owning a deer rifle or a shotgun for duck hunting. But they were against the ownership of AR-15s, suppressors, or standard capacity magazines. Plus, they have always hated the idea of people carrying guns. Democrats would say we have “the right to keep and bear arms” —if they weren’t icky guns, and we didn’t use those firearms to do things that they don’t like. 

There’s been plenty of case studies where Republicans neutered or wholly blocked pro-gun legislation, and this platform gives them cover. Earlier this year, the Republican governor of Wyoming vetoed a repeal of several gun free zones. Last year, Florida lawmakers passed a watered-down permitless carry bill and even blocked a pro-gun amendment that would have repealed a gun-free zone.  Gun owners need to be loud and proud and tell the RNC, and the GOP as a whole, that we will not be taken advantage of. We won’t accept political table scraps instead of the juicy steak that we deserve.

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About the Author

Luis Valdes is a National Spokesman, and the Florida State Director, for Gun Owners of America.




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