In the wake of Uvalde the politicians generally divided on two sides, with one side being more “bipartisan” than the other. And while there were a few courageous folks who reminded the people that the gun, no matter how “scary” it looks, is an inanimate object that could sit loaded forever and do no damage unless and until someone picked it up, most politicians licked their finger and stuck it up in the wind. Since the media was blowing around the theory that the shooting was all the fault of the “assault rifle” that the shooter was carrying, that’s how the politicos came down.
While it was a disappointment – but no surprise – that a fair number of RINOs came out on the latter side of finger-stickers, as it stands right now we have a Democrat in charge of this state. And, of course, he led off his usually boring and non-controversial “week in review” e-mail with his statement on what we should do post-Uvalde:
So many across the country are feeling helpless and hopeless this week. A massacre of an elementary school classroom has come on the heels of a racist mass shooting in a grocery store. But elected officials — here in Delaware and across the country — are not helpless. The reality is we can do something about these horrific tragedies. In every state in the nation, and in Congress, we have the ability to pass legislation to make it harder and harder for people to get their hands on weapons that cause these mass murders.
We have made progress here in Delaware, but it isn’t enough. I’m committed to working with the General Assembly to continue doing our part to prevent these shameful, appalling, unnecessary tragedies. In the meantime, my heart is with the victims and their families.“Reflections On This Week,” Governor John Carney, May 27, 2022.
Since I’m not afraid to proclaim my help and hope comes from Jesus Christ, I suppose I don’t fall within that “so many” category. Maybe we just need more to join those ranks.
And yes, our elected officials aren’t helpless. But we don’t need legislation to make it harder to get guns – we need legislation to make sure more of them are around when and where they’re needed, such as in West Virginia the other day.
What has to be obvious to all but the most fanatical gun grabber is that the Uvalde shooter was a mentally sick individual. As with most of these incidents, the bread crumb trail was easy to follow after the fact – unfortunately, no one put the pieces together beforehand and got the kid the help he could have used.
This message is about the other 99.999% of gun owners who are responsible enough to know what their weapons are capable of and treat them with due respect. There’s only a small percentage of them who would even desire to carry them around, but what if even 5% of those gun owners used a right to carry concealed? That’s one portion of the solution we can use, but I guaran-damn-tee that’s not what Governor Carnage has in mind when he says he wants to make it “harder and harder to get their hands on weapons.”
However, I titled this post “elections matter” because there’s a simple fact at play here: despite the fact there’s a few short weeks left in our regular General Assembly session, that’s more than enough time to whip out more gun-grabbing legislation. (Generally, the worst of legislation is the knee-jerk type that comes together the quickest. I’m sure all those gun control lobbyists already have their wish list bill ready to go, just waiting for a crisis such as this. Can’t waste it!) But you definitely can’t discount the thought of a Special Session later this summer to deal with gun legislation, especially since the Democrats nationally have nothing else to run on and it’s an election year in Delaware too.
Alas, we can’t get rid of John Carney until 2024 and he’s term-limited anyway. (One 2023 story will be the battle to succeed him, which will start in the latter half of the year.) Because of the census and redistricting, though, every seat in the General Assembly is up for election this November. Also on the ballot is the important law enforcement post of Attorney General, where incumbent Democrat Kathy Jennings is not term-limited out but has a Republican contender in Julianne Murray.
Let’s look at the General Assembly, though. While the filing deadline isn’t until July 12, most of the Senate incumbents who are running for re-election have already filed: the exceptions are the embattled Darius Brown in District 2, John Walsh in District 9, and Dave Wilson in the 18th District. The House, however, is a bit more muddled as the majority of incumbents are still waiting to file, including most of the group from Sussex County. We know that Rep. Steve Smyk is leaving District 20 to try for the Senate District 6 seat that’s opening up with the retirement of Senator Ernie Lopez and a Republican, Bradley Layfield, has come on board for the newly-relocated House District 4 in the Long Neck area.
Being that we are still a month and a half away from the filing deadline, it’s the way-too-early guesstimate of the chances that Delaware Democrats withstand the battering their party label is getting from the sheer incompetence (or intentional destruction) of the Biden administration, but at the moment here’s how things look.
In the Senate, there is a Democrat only filed in 7 seats, a Republican only filed in 6 seats (one would be a flip, at least until John Walsh or another Democrat files) and 8 seats up in the air as both a Democrat and Republican have filed. At this second, it is possible that the Republicans could get the majority but more likely they could cut into their 14-7 deficit. A four seat pickup isn’t that much of a stretch, though, considering just a few years ago there was a special election where control of the Senate was in the balance.
In the House, the disparity of filings has the Democrats enjoying a 15-5 bulge but all that changes once Republicans begin to file. (At the moment, one is replaced by a Libertarian, which would be a historic day for that party.) The GOP would have to hope the GOP wave currently sweeping the nation isn’t dashed by the breakwall of redistricting that favored the Democrats as much as possible – remember, just population changes likely flip a seat as the former Democrat Rep. Gerald Brady’s District 4 seat was the one moved to Sussex. The GOP needs six addtional seats to gain control, but with all 41 House seats up as usual this is their best chance in a decade and the political winds are the most favorable for them since the Obama wave ended Republican control back in 2008.
Returning to the Senate for a moment, bear in mind the GOP picked up at least one seat each election during the TEA Party era, even despite Christine O’Donnell. (In 2008 things looked really bleak as it was 16-5 Democrat then, even with there still being a handful of centrist-to-conservative Democrats in the Senate back then.) So a four seat gain is a stretch, but because all 21 are up it’s possible.
Assuming they get control, at that point all the Republicans need is a spine. Granted, that may be more difficult for them to come by than legislative control but it would be nice to have the other side have to come over to be bipartisan for a change and maybe they can get common-sense legislation like elimination of gun-free zones on most public property and funding the construction and staffing of places for those kids who show signs of becoming the next Uvalde shooter to go for the help they need. (And that includes faith-based initiatives.)
Indeed, elections matter. Let’s do better in November, Delaware.