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Six Midterm Election Races For Gun Owners To Watch

In the United States, midterm elections are just around the corner and gun rights may be on the line. Here are six races that could have national and state-level implications for gun owners.

Six Midterm Election Races For Gun Owners To Watch

From weapons bans to concealed carry rights, firearms freedoms are on the ballot this November. (Photo by Guns & Ammo Staff)

The 2022 election is nearly upon us — in some states, early voting is already underway. There is a great deal at stake as Americans cast their votes in federal, state and local elections. Record inflation, the risk of an economic recession and an epidemic of crime in America’s cities are all top-of-mind issues.

For many of us, gun rights are always on the ballot but, given the weak-on-crime policies we are seeing across much of the nation, the ability to lawfully protect oneself seems especially critical now. In many cases, the choice between pro and anti-gun candidates is crystal clear. On one side, you have individuals who are unapologetic in their desire to ban entire categories of firearms, sue gun manufacturers out of business and repeal laws that protect basic rights to self-defense. On the other, we have elected officials who are willing to stand up for individual rights and personal freedom when it comes to firearms ownership. With those issues in-mind, we picked out three key federal and state races to watch this November.

U.S. Senate

Florida: Rubio v. Demings

Florida has become less of a swing state in recent years but polling suggests that the state’s U.S. Senate race is closer than the other statewide contests. This race pits incumbent Republican Senator Marco Rubio against Democrat Representative and former Orlando Police Chief Val Demings. Rubio has been a consistent pro-gun vote going back to his days in the Florida Legislature and has continued that course while serving in the Senate. Demings pays lip service to gun owners, vowing to “protect our communities and the Second Amendment at the same time.” Unfortunately, her record says otherwise.

When the long-awaited SCOTUS decision on NYSRPA vs. Bruen was announced, Demings released a statement condemning it. “The Supreme Court’s decision in this case will gut communities’ ability to protect our schools, churches, and communities from gun violence,” she said. “… Members of Congress need to show the basic courage to stand up to the gun lobby.” Demings’ voting record is clearly anti-gun. She co-sponsored federal red flag legislation, supported a bill that would raise the purchase age of a semi-auto rifle from 18 to 21, supports reclassification of rifle-caliber handguns under the National Firearms Act (NFA), and more. The choice for pro-gun voters in the Sunshine State is clear.

Wisconsin: Johnson v. Barnes

The U.S. Senate race in Wisconsin is between incumbent Republican Ron Johnson and Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes. Ron Johnson’s voting record on gun rights is clear and he received an “A” from the National Rifle Association’s Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF).

Barnes, on the other hand, is proud of his anti-gun voting record in the state legislature and pledges to continue that path if elected to the U.S. Senate. “In the Senate, I will fight to build on this historic legislation and keep our communities safe from gun violence.” Barnes supports red flag laws, bans on semi-automatic firearms and full-capacity magazines, waiting periods and mandatory storage requirements. Barnes has been endorsed by anti-gun advocacy groups including Giffords PAC and the Everytown for Gun Safety Victory Fund. Additionally, Everytown has contributed $1 million in support of Barnes’ campaign.

Ohio: Vance v. Ryan

This is an open seat where author J.D. Vance, a Republican, is facing off against Democrat Congressman Tim Ryan. Vance is a political newcomer without a voting record but has pledged to support the Second Amendment. During a recent interview with Breitbart Radio, Vance made his stance clear. He sees locking up violent criminals, rather than gun control, as the answer to surges in crime. “I think the red flag laws, in particular, they certainly are a slippery slope. They also don’t solve the problem of gun violence … it’s not even accurate to call it a gun violence problem,” Vance said. “It is a violence problem that has gotten worse over the last few years, not because of more guns, but because of negative law enforcement.”

Tim Ryan has flip-flopped on gun issues during his career. Once an NRA-endorsed candidate, Ryan changed his tune after the tragic events in Sandy Hook and Las Vegas. In 2017, Ryan sent $20,000 that he’d received from pro-gun PACs over the years to three gun-control organizations: Sandy Hook Promise, Americans for Responsible Solutions and Everytown for Gun Safety. He also advocated specific policy changes that included firearm and accessory bans. "With technology on the market that can cheaply and easily convert a semi-automatic weapon into a fully-automatic machine gun, Congress should require much stricter background checks on semi-automatic rifles and ban the bump stocks that helped make Las Vegas to be so deadly," Ryan said, “I'm very passionate about getting these weapons of war off the street. I'm very passionate about the background checks. It sickens me to see what's happening to the country today and to think that a few politicians like Mitch McConnell can block basic, common-sense gun legislation that 90 percent of the American people support.” The Giffords Law Center called Ryan “a determined gun safety champion with a record of legislative effectiveness.” At least now we know where Ryan stands.

State Races

Georgia: Kemp v. Abrams

If you are looking for a state with a stark contrast between gubernatorial candidates on firearms issues, go no further than the Peach State. Incumbent Republican Governor Brian Kemp proudly signed legislation making Georgia a permitless carry state while his opponent, Stacey Abrams has advocated for various gun control policies. According to, Abrams would do her best to institute a red flag law in Georgia and would move to regulate private transfers of firearms. Further, she has advocated reversing the passage recent pro-gun laws in Georgia including permitless carry, campus carry and a 2014 statute that removed carry prohibitions on various locations including houses of worship and bars. Granted, such measures would be certain to fail in the Republican-controlled legislature, but a girl can dream. Abrams has been endorsed the Giffords organization as a “gun safety champion.” Enough said.

Kansas: Kelly v. Schmidt

Kansas is considered a red state but it still managed to elect Democrat Laura Kelly as its governor back in 2018. She previously served in the state senate. Kelly is being challenged by Attorney General Derek Schmidt, also a former senator. Despite calling herself a “lifetime supporter of the Second Amendment, Kelly was given an “F” rating by NRA-PVF. Kelly supports red flag laws, banning certain semi-automatic firearms and vetoed two bills that would have expanded concealed carry opportunities. When receiving an endorsement from a major gun control organization in 2022, Kelly didn’t back away, “I am honored to have the support of Everytown for Gun Safety again, and to continue working with them to address gun violence.”

Kelly’s challenger has been a Second Amendment supporter for decades. Schmidt voted to support firearm preemption legislation in 2005 and was a Senate leader when the Kansas Legislature overrode then-Governor Sebelius’ veto to enact its first concealed carry bill in 2006. He subsequently supported the state’s permitless carry bill and several other pro-gun measures. As Attorney General, Schmidt spearheaded a universal concealed carry permit recognition bill that Kelly ultimately vetoed. Kansans can be confident that, if elected, Schmidt will be an advocate for the rights of gun owners as governor.

Arizona: Lake v. Hobbs

For many years, Arizona stood at the top of Guns &Ammo’s “Best States for Gun Owners” rankings thanks to its pro-gun environment. With the influx of new residents from the west coast and the election of statewide Democrats including anti-gun activist and Senator Mark Kelly, that environment appears to be changing. This year’s elections are an opportunity for Arizonans to swing things back in a positive election. The Governor’s race is a contest between Republican Kari Lake and Democrat Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. Lake, a longtime news anchor, is a political newcomer with no voting record but she’s be unequivocal in her statements supporting the Second Amendment. Under that topic on the “Issues” section of her website, the message is clear, “Shall. Not. Be. Infringed.” In response to federal legislation that would push red flag grants to the states, Lake tweeted “When I’m Governor, Arizona will not recognize unconstitutional Gun Laws in our state. We just won’t do it.”   


Hobbs is bit cagey on the specifics of her gun control policies, using vague and ambiguous references to “common sense” ideas. She refuses to debate her opponent and some believe that her positions on gun control are a key reason why she doesn’t want to go on the record against Lake. Hobbs didn’t mince words when it came to her reaction to the Bruen case “Like the majority of Americans, Arizonans, and gun owners who support responsible and reasonable safety measures, I am outraged at today’s Supreme Court ruling.” Not surprisingly, Hobbs has been endorsed by Everytown for Gun Safety and the same group has spent $1.4 million on ads opposing her opponent’s candidacy. NRA-PVF gives her an “F”.

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