The race for the U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania is closer than most folks expected when Dr. Mehmet Oz scraped through a bruising and bitter primary fight by just a few thousand votes. Republicans have largely coalesced behind the candidate, and recent polls have shown a very tight race. In fact, Emerson College released a poll on Friday showing Democratic candidate John Fetterman with just a two-point lead over Oz and eight percent of the 1,000 likely voters still undecided on who they’ll vote for.
Democrats are hoping that Fetterman will appeal not only to hardcore lefties who share his views and values, but to the more rural voters in the state’s midsection as well. Those voters should be turned off by Oz’s status as a very recent transplant to the state, as well as his upper crust love for things like crudité instead of “snacks.” Fetterman, meanwhile, dons Carhartt hoodies and works extraordinarily hard at maintaining his blue-collar brand despite growing up in an affluent family and holding a masters from Harvard.
There’s something else that Fetterman holds, however: contempt for Second Amendment activists. As Fox News highlighted on Friday, back in April, when Fetterman was running for the Democratic nomination and wasn’t trying to appeal to independent and moderate voters, he told a crowd of gun control activists that the NRA’s millions of members are lunatics.
“I’m not afraid of anything, and certainly not the NRA,” Fetterman said. “And let me be clear, the NRA does not represent the overwhelming majority of what gun owners really believe and want.”
“That is the lunatic fringe of gun ownership. And they are disproportionately represented and that skews the conversation,” he continued. “And pushing back at, I would never make the mistake of thinking, that’s representative of your average gun owner in America.”
John Fetterman certainly doesn’t represent average gun owners. For starters, the vast, vast majority of us have never held an unarmed jogger at the end of a shotgun like John has.
But I would also argue that the average gun owner doesn’t want to see the right to keep and bear arms criminalized, even if they tell pollsters they agree with things like “universal background checks” or “red flag” laws. The gun control lobby benefits immensely from the fact that pollsters and the media writ large rarely if ever mention the punitive side of the supposedly reasonable laws they want to put on the books, and when people start to see the fine print and recognize the real consequences of those laws then the 90% support for those laws can drop all the way below 50%, as we saw in Maine just a few years ago. Michael Bloomberg and the gun control lobby spent big on a voter referendum to put universal background check laws on the books, but the more voters dug into the issue the less support it received, and on Election Day it went down to defeat, with 52% of voters rejecting the measure out of hand.
Fetterman’s own anti-gun policies go far beyond background checks. He’s in favor of nuking the Senate filibuster in order to ram through a ban on so-called assault weapons on a bare majority, party-line vote. Once the filibuster is gone, Democrats would not only enact all kinds of gun control measures; they’d pack the Supreme Court full of anti-gun justices who would swiftly overturn the Heller, McDonald, and Bruen decisions and gut the Second Amendment’s protections.
I was critical of Dr. Oz during the Republican primary for his previous support for various gun control measures and I still wish he’d addressed his views head on instead of trying to brush them, but at the very least he’s not out there calling for the most commonly-sold rifles in the country to be criminalized. Between Oz and Fetterman, there’s no question who would be better for the Second Amendment and the tens of millions of Americans who exercise their right to keep and bear arms, even if the depth of Oz’s support may still be an open question in the minds of many conservatives.
I’d actually love to see Oz bring up Fetterman’s comments in his campaign, particularly in light of the fact that the NRA funded the legal fight that led to the Bruen decision that overturned New York’s “may issue” carry regime. Pennsylvania is a “shall issue” state with more than 1.5-million active concealed carry licenses. Does John Fetterman think it that was lunacy to overturn New York’s gun laws that prevented the average citizen from bearing arms in self-defense? Sure sounds like it.
Does Fetterman think what New York Gov. Kathy Hochul did in response to the Bruen decision to be the act of a lunatic fringe, given that her new laws are meant to make it nearly impossible to exercise the right to bear arms without committing a felony? He seems to be pretty cool with it, or at least isn’t avoiding the state because of her actions. He was putting on a big fundraiser in the Hamptons just a day before the new restrictions went into effect, as a matter of fact.
Fetterman may look like some dude that you’d see at your local range but his views would be far outside the mainstream viewpoints of everyone there. He stands with the lunatic infringers; those who would turn the right of armed self-defense into a felony punishable by years in prison. You don’t have to be an NRA member or even a gun owner to know what a terrible idea that would be, but Fetterman is one of those Democrats who seems to have a soft spot for violent criminals and a real problem with Americans who dare to support a strong Second Amendment.