- - Thursday, October 4, 2018

As the November elections approach, Second Amendment supporters must recognize that liberal billionaires like former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg are heavily investing in the political process to push out of office those who support the Second Amendment. Their goal is to flip vulnerable seats in Congress and state legislatures, and fill them with politicians beholden to their agenda of restricting gun rights and putting limitations on self-defense.

Mr. Bloomberg’s organization “Everytown for Gun Safety” is really not about gun safety at all but rather, advancing an anti-Second Amendment agenda. So far, they have committed more than $15 million to advertising and campaigning, and that’s likely the tip of the iceberg. The strategy is clear: Prey on the fear that there is a mass shooting around every corner, and nothing can be done to stop it, except eradicating all guns, forever.

In fact, liberal U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, Connecticut Democrat, told USA Today point blank recently, “If they don’t see us being coordinated and they don’t see us having the ability to mobilize voters and donors, they’re not going to be that scared.”

This is why it is of the utmost importance that those who value and want to protect the Second Amendment participate in the elections this fall to make their voices heard. We can’t stand by and allow this assault on our constitutional rights by failing to stand up to those who would take them from us.

The good news is that despite the best efforts of Mr. Bloomberg and his billionaire friends, there are actually an increasing number of Americans who support the right to bear arms and are embracing their right to self-defense. The number of Americans who have applied for concealed carry permits has now reached 18 million, a 60 percent increase since 2014.

There has also been a sharp increase in women applying for concealed carry permits — that rate has doubled just within the last four years.

Many new concealed carry permit applicants identify as Democrats, which shows that the issue of the Second Amendment is truly bipartisan. The desire to protect oneself and family appeals to all Americans, and cuts through party lines. We see that every day at the U.S. Concealed Carry Association, where we proudly have tens of thousands of members from both political parties.

Elections have consequences, though, and that’s why it is so important for responsible gun owners to get out and vote for candidates who respect and support the U.S. Constitution. Virginia is a prime example of the real-world consequences of anti-gun politicians.

Just recently, because of a state attorney general who was elected just last November, Lee County School Superintendent Brian Austin was denied the ability to carry his lawfully permitted firearm on school property as an armed special conservator of the peace. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring not only disregarded Mr. Austin’s Second Amendment rights, he also showed a complete disregard for the safety of the students at Mr. Austin’s school.

Anti-gun politicians like Mr. Herring completely miss the point on issues like school safety. States like Colorado, South Dakota and Texas are already allowing trained school officials with concealed carry permits to bring their personal firearm to campus in an effort to ramp up security.

In today’s world, the government should be doing everything possible to protect students from school violence, and part of that strategy should include every available resource — including responsible gun owners who volunteer to carry their personal firearm. These individuals are willing and able respond to a crisis on the spot, in a situation where seconds matter.

The saying goes, “The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” To the anti-gun lobby, anyone with a firearm can only ever be the bad guy, never the good guy.

There are politicians in office right now who are so eager to curb Second Amendment rights that they will refuse common-sense protections for schoolchildren. There are more of these politicians running for election or re-election in November. Voter registration drives are well underway in many states, and mark your calendars for Election Day. At a time when constitutional rights are under attack, the best way to defend them is to vote for candidates who are strong proponents of the right to bear arms.

• Tim Schmidt is the president and founder of the U.S. Concealed Carry Association.

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