Keeping the Magic Numbers in Mind (For Passing Legislation)

U S Capital Building Congress
U S Capital Building Congress

Washington D.C. – -( In one sense, the fight for our Second Amendment rights comes down to numbers. To wit – sufficient votes in a given legislative chamber to pass good legislation that moves us closer to restoring our rights or to defeat the bad legislation. In terms of the federal government there are five numbers to keep in mind: 218, 290, 51, 60, and 67.

For those familiar with our system of government, those numbers represent the number of votes needed for a majority in the House of Representatives, the number of votes needed for a two-thirds supermajority in the House, the number of votes needed for a Senate majority (needed to actually pass legislation and end some filibusters), the number of votes needed to end a filibuster for legislation (three-fifths), and the number of votes needed for a two-thirds majority in the Senate (they had to round up). These are important to keep in mind, because they tell us what is possible to achieve, and therefore, they also dictate the tactics and strategy that Second Amendment supporters must follow.

In the House of Representatives, we need 218 votes to pass pro-Second Amendment legislation. Based on the vote for HR 8 earlier this year, we have about 190 votes as of now. That means in 2020, Second Amendment supporters need to pick up a minimum of 28 seats in the House. That gets a majority of one vote. It would be nice to have a larger margin, because pushing a major piece of pro-Second Amendment legislation will be controversial, and so, it wouldn’t hurt to have a dozen or more extra votes.

This will likely involve flipping the House back to Republican control. Which will have a lot of benefits for Second Amendment supporters. But control of the House is not enough when there is an anti-Second Amendment president. Then it takes 290 votes to override a veto. That would require picking up 100 seats – that is a Herculean effort.

In the Senate, we technically need 51 votes to pass legislation. Currently, there are 55 pro-Second Amendment votes, albeit Joe Manchin and Jon Tester are not entirely reliable on confirming pro-Second Amendment judges. Second Amendment supporters will really regret not taking the chance to replace Tester and Sherrod Brown in 2018, not to mention securing a full term for Martha McSally. That would have pushed the number to 57, with Manchin being the only unreliable vote on ancillary issues.

It would also give Second Amendment supporters a fighting chance at 60 votes after 2020. That sort of margin would have made it relatively easy to deal with the financial blacklisting and corporate gun control emanating from companies like Salesforce. But now, even if Republicans hold the Senate after 2020 (it could likely be a close decision), corporate gun control and financial blacklisting will be defended by a filibuster. On the flip side Second Amendment supporters must protect 15 seats to ensure that there isn’t a filibuster-proof majority for anti-Second Amendment legislation. This assumes, of course, that there is no elimination of the filibuster to do things like pack federal courts with anti-Second Amendment extremists.

The number 67 will also matter – that is the number needed to either pass a constitutional amendment or to remove an official via impeachment. Second Amendment supporters will need to flip 12 seats to get to that number – and must protect 22 to avoid seeing the latter.

Once you understand the numbers, it then becomes a question of figuring out how to get the numbers needed. That will involve a lot of work in the run-up to the 2020 election, and to those elections beyond those of next year.

Harold Hu, chison

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,, and other national websites.

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