When the United States Supreme Court came down with its historic decision in the 2008 case of District of Columbia v. Heller, many people thought Second Amendment issues would no longer be center stage come election time. What appeared to some to be a clear win for those who support gun rights was actually just the beginning. In Heller the Court held for the first time that the Second Amendment protected the right of individuals to possess firearms in most instances. While Heller was indeed a seminal victory for gun rights advocates and law abiding gun owners, there are still many controversial issues involving gun rights. The outcome of the 2012 elections may determine the fate of some of these issues.
One of the most controversial issues will no doubt be Operation Fast & Furious. While this botched gun-running program of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms and the United States Department of Justice will not likely have a direct effect on citizen’s rights under the Second Amendment, it is still an alarming abuse of power by the government. And as more and more evidence is uncovered each day, it appears this program may indeed have been a ploy by the Obama Administration to undermine Second Amendment rights had the operation succeeded. That may yet turn out to be the biggest part of this unfolding story. Depending on the speed and intensity of the investigation, it could prove to be a crucial issue in 2012 congressional campaigns and the campaign for the White House.
Another important issue, and one that many outside of the day to day battle over gun rights may not be aware of, is the U.N. Small Arms Treaty. Approval of this treaty by the United States Senate would be a huge blow to the rights of gun owners in the United States. President Obama has left little doubt that he would support any move by the Senate to approve the treaty. That makes the 2012 Senate and Presidential elections one of the most crucial elections ever for gun owners. A strong democratic majority in the Senate and the re-election of President Obama could spell disaster for the Second Amendment.
These two issues are of huge importance for gun owners and gun rights advocates in 2012. The outcome of the election may decide how the issues are ultimately decided. Other issues such as the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act, while no less important to gun owners, may not hinge on the outcome of the upcoming elections. Fast and Furious may well bring down the Obama Administration and the U.N. Small Arms Treaty could put our constitutional rights at risk. If this does not stir those who strongly support gun rights to get involved in 2012 and elect candidates that understand the Second Amendment, Heller may lose much of its impact.