Congress – -(AmmoLand.com)- When discussing legislation, like HR 127 or HR 880, there are two terms Second Amendment supporters should be well aware of: Sponsorship and Co-Sponsorship. Knowing these terms can actually help inform our activism.
Many times, lawmakers will say they support our rights. The easiest way to tell is looking at their voting record. They have to vote “Yea” or “Nay” on a given piece of legislation or an amendment, and that vote is public record – it’s hard to run away from. But there is a part of the public record that often isn’t covered as much by the media: Who sponsors and co-sponsors legislation.
Sponsorship and co-sponsorship can be a very big tell for Second Amendment supporters. It’s what separates a member of the legislature who does the bare minimum from someone who is willing to be a leader in the fight to defend our Second Amendment rights. It can also reveal who is not being forthright when they claim to support our rights.
Now, this is not to condemn those who vote the right way on legislation or to diminish their support. There can be many reasons someone doesn’t often sponsor or co-sponsor legislation. Perhaps their positions are more a rejection of anti-Second Amendment extremism than wanting to push back laws. They may have real questions about a given piece of legislation. Maybe there is a lot of anti-Second Amendment extremist activism in their district. There may even have been a horrific crime or act of madness involving firearms in the recent past. As a general rule, member of Congress or your state legislature who votes the right way should be given the benefit of the doubt.
The member of Congress or a state legislature who introduces a piece of legislation is known as the sponsor. They can be considered to be the primary proponent of that given legislative item – be it a bill or resolution. Someone sponsoring pro-Second Amendment legislation, like the Home Defense and Competitive Shooting Act can rightly be seen as a leader, and that sort of move is something to be considered when you are weighing your vote should they seek higher office. On the flip side, someone who sponsors anti-Second Amendment legislation can be seen as a leader for the other side.
The real tell, though, can be something called co-sponsorship. This is a way for many lawmakers to express their support for legislation that has been introduced, and often the media doesn’t tell you who co-sponsors legislation involving your Second Amendment rights.
Tracking co-sponsorship of legislation can do a lot of things. It can tell you how much support there is for a given piece of legislation. Sheila Jackson Lee’s HR 127, the Sabika Sheikh Firearms Licensing and Registration Act, for instance, has ZERO co-sponsors as of this writing, so it can be seen as something too extreme for a number of anti-Second Amendment extremists.
It also can tell you who is being forthright about their Second Amendment support. Is your lawmaker co-sponsoring a lot of pro-Second Amendment pieces of legislation? That’s a good sign they are solid supporters. On the flip side, a lawmaker who sponsors some anti-Second Amendment legislation while claiming to back gun rights needs to face some tough questions.
Knowing about sponsorship and co-sponsorship can give Second Amendment supporters a good idea of where things stand. Always be in touch with your elected officials to politely urge their support for our rights, and don’t forget to support the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action and Political Victory Fund to ensure that the anti-Second Amendment elected officials are defeated at the ballot box as soon as possible.
About Harold Hutchison
Writer Harold Hutchison has more than a dozen years of experience covering military affairs, international events, U.S. politics and Second Amendment issues. Harold was consulting senior editor at Soldier of Fortune magazine and is the author of the novel Strike Group Reagan. He has also written for the Daily Caller, National Review, Patriot Post, Strategypage.com, and other national websites.