Op-Ed: Americans need for safety and security a top priority at the ballot box next year
Dec 21, 2021

By Mike Lowney – Tuesday, December 21, 2021

The Washington Times

With less than a year until the next midterm elections, recent shifts in polling, voting habits and firearms sales are sending a clear message to members of Congress in both parties: Safety and security will be a top priority for a majority of voters in red, blue and purple states, alike.  

It’s not hard to see why. A new poll from Gallup just after Election Day showed that many Americans believe crime is rising in their local areas.  In fact, there was a 13-point jump — from 38% to 51% — on that question from just last year.  

Voter perceptions are also reinforced by headlines showing violent crime on the rise in many parts of the country. At least 12 major U.S. cities have broken annual homicide records in 2021 – and the year isn’t over yet. The number of murders in the United States jumped by nearly 30% in 2020, while the overall violent crime rate, including assault, robbery and rape, grew by 5%.

Yet, President Biden is, unfortunately, showing no sign of pivoting from his strong policy positions opposing Americans’ right to protect themselves, including reforms like concealed carry reciprocity. It should be seen as a coincidence that a recent NBC News poll has the president’s job approval rating at 42% among all adults, with a disapproval rating of 54%.

There’s a reason that in many of the same cities where a year ago there was talk of “defunding the police,” recent mayoral candidates, both Democrats and Republicans, took the opposite approach from the president and closed out their campaigns pledging to restore law and order.

Americans want and deserve to feel safe in their communities. They should know that their children will be safe and that their families can travel freely without fear. Americans believe in the inalienable right to self-defense and will support candidates who protect that right.

We stand with the record numbers of Americans choosing to be their family’s first line of defense and who are embracing gun ownership. 2021 will be another record year for firearms sales following a record-shattering 2020 that saw background checks for firearm sales reach over 39 million.

According to a new report by the Crime Prevention Research Center, there are now an estimated 21.5-million concealed carry licensees across the United States. Six states currently have over 1 million permit holders: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Texas. Florida is the first state to have over 2.5 million permits. In fact, these numbers are likely even far higher when you consider that 21 states have now adopted so-called constitutional carry, which allows concealed carry without a permit, while 34 states total now allow open carry.

What’s also striking is recent polling showing why more Americans are purchasing firearms. Gallup recently found that 31% of U.S. adults say they own a gun, and more gun owners than ever before are making clear they own a gun for protection against crime.

Almost 90% of gun owners now cite crime protection as a reason they own a gun, compared with two-thirds giving this reason in 2000 and 2005 surveys.

Americans in record numbers are speaking very clearly — they will not be left defenseless and want to keep their families safe.

That is why organizations like the U.S. Concealed Carry Association, which has seen record demand this past year for firearms education and training, are fighting for Americans’ right to self-protect. Earlier this year, we launched the USCCA for Saving Lives Super PAC and are working to ensure that Americans who choose to responsibly protect have the right leaders fighting for them in Washington. We also believe that they deserve protection from the opponents trying to erase their rights.

More Americans than ever before in our history — Republicans, Democrats and independents, alike — are choosing to responsibly protect themselves and want the freedom to do that. They are going to lean towards candidates who are fighting for safer communities, and that includes not just support for law enforcement while opposing efforts to “defund” the policy, but also more freedom to protect themselves and their families.

Political candidates who not only oppose that but actively work to prevent that from happening will do so at their political peril ahead of next year’s elections.