NSSF: State Election Results Jumbled for Firearms

State map of midterm election results

Everyone has that kitchen drawer. That’s the one where a book of matches, take-out menus, extra cell-phone power cords, pet treats, a pack of gum, and a hammer are kept. That is, of course, if you could only find them under the rest of the junk in there.

That’s sort of what our state-by-state landscape looks like when it comes to firearms legislation after this week’s midterm elections. It’s ugly, but if you dig, there’s something worth finding.

By Larry Keane


Seven states will see new Democratic governors in the New Year. Those include Illinois Democrat J.B. Pritzker (Campaigned saying there would not be a safe place for the NRA in Illinois), who defeated Republican Bruce Rauner and Kansas Democrat Laura Kelly, who beat Kris Kobach. Michigan Democrat Gretchen Whitmer came out on top over Republican Bill Schuette. Meanwhile, in Maine, Janet Mills topped Republican Shawn Moody. Nevada Democrat Steve Sisolak ran away with the election over Republican Adam Laxalt and, in New Mexico, Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham bested Republican Steve Pearce. Wisconsin Democrat Tony Evers eked out a win over out Republican Scott Walker.

State map of midterm election results
Much of the fight on gun rights is happening in the states. Take, for instance, the ban on modern sporting rifles.

Going into the election, there were 36 gubernatorial races, with 16 held by Democrats, 33 by Republicans and one by an independent. That split is now 23 for Democrats and 25 for Republicans. In one remaining race, Georgia’s Republican Brian Kemp declared victory over Democrat Stacey Abrams, who isn’t conceding, saying the race is still undecided. Kemp holds a slight lead and if it is less than one-half a percent, it will be headed for a recount.

What it Means

Things got even tougher, even in states where it was already tough. California elected Democrat Gavin Newsom, who campaigned on a platform that some of the strictest gun laws in the country weren’t strict enough. Illinois’ Gov. Rauner has signed restrictive legislation in the past, but he’s also vetoed some bills that would have been disastrous for the firearms industry and gun owners.


We all know, though, that governors don’t make gun laws by themselves. Those originate in the statehouses and 46 states held contests for more than 6,000 seats. Six chambers in state capitols flipped from Republican to Democratic control in Connecticut, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota and New Hampshire. Democrats in New York have had a numerical advantage for some time, but that state’s Senate was controlled by a coalition of Republicans.

Still, Republicans maintained hold of 62 of the 99 state legislatures (Nebraska’s is unicameral and nonpartisan). Those included races in Arizona, Florida, Minnesota, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin that were held by less than 10 seats.

What it Means

Much of the fight on gun rights is happening in the states. Take, for instance, the ban on modern sporting rifles. The federal ban expired in 2004, but since, California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York banned the most popular selling rifle. These states also outlawed standard capacity magazines for modern sporting rifles and some handguns, as did Colorado and Vermont.

Ballot Initiatives

Ballot initiatives make it even more difficult to predict the future of firearms-related legislation in the individual states. Voters in the Washington state voted to pass the I-1639 ballot initiative, putting Washington on par with California, Massachusetts, and Hawaii as having some of the most restrictive firearm laws in the nation. A few of the many requirements imposed by I-1639 are: raising the minimum age to purchase a semi-automatic firearm from 18 to 21, creating new background check requirements, mandatory training requirements for gun purchases and new storage requirements for law-abiding gun owners.

But all wasn’t bad news. North Carolina voters approved state constitutional protection for hunting and fishing, backed by NSSF and other sportsmen and conservation organizations that ensured this heritage for future generations. North Carolina becomes the 22nd state to constitutionally protect hunting and fishing.

More to Come

We’re still sifting through all the results. Tune in when NSSF hosts webinars on what the midterm election results mean to our industry and what we can expect. You can know this much: NSSF will remain engaged, fighting against legislation that hurts our industry and that infringes on our rights while working to make America safer while respecting our liberties.

Did your state move to more pro gun or anti gun with the midterm elections? Share your state and answer in the comment section.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog. "The Shooter's Log", is to provide information - not opinions - to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decicions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (32)

  1. Please stop Saying “ARMED” March…..Are you out of your mind?!? Supporters of the 2nd Amendment can march without Rifles slinged on their Backs. The Liberals will twist it and try to Make Pro-Gun rights supporters Look Like armed Lunatics. Smfh

    1. Agreed, but some visual sign of what the march stands for is a necessary condition. An AR, even a cardboard one, provides the icon.

  2. An armed demonstration of that size would be construed as a coup dʼétat by Democrats. I’d say issuing obvious card board cutouts of “modern sporting arms” would get the message across.

  3. The election results with voters replacing conservatives with those wanting socialism and abolition of the second amendment perfectly illustrates how society is becoming dumber with each generation. Average IQ of the population is 99-100 but the number of low IQ people is growing and becoming the majority. Read The Bell Curve which explains how this is happening and the implications for the future. It is bleak to be sure.

  4. Here in Florida, “Finally”,,,Andrew Gillum concedes Florida governor’s race to Ron DeSantis..

    So Florida is safe for now from the gun grabbing, tax crazy, filthy Socialist liar…. 🙂

  5. Demographic displacement is simple math. White Americans are the only group in large that values freedoms like the 2A. As a doctor would say, you must diagnose the problem before you can work on the treatment. Time to call out what really is the problem and stop using “safe words” like liberal and socialist.

    1. White Americans are Also The Largest Demographic of People Trying to Dismantle the 2nd Amendment at the Same time. Trust me….There are a Lot of
      Gun Rights supporters of Color Like Colin Noir and Myself, But the Liberal powers that be would like to keep that Fact suppressed. I’m also a Veteran and Lifetime NRA member….There are a Lot like me who stands by the 2nd-Amendment.

  6. Is that a goat or you in the photo? Socialist is right. Do you squat in some attic living on programs paid for by taxes of honest, working people? I won’t argue the Constitutional or Bill of Rights with you. Having retired from 40 years in education, you are way below my radar junior.

  7. Washington state 1639 passed. Look it up, it’s all encompassing, as bad as Ca. I’m now embarrassed to live here. Where was the NRA? Money from firearms retailers for ads, posters, anything? Shooting sports here have been crippled.

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