Among the changes in various states, one of the more interesting is Kentucky. While the state legislature remained very, very red, the governor’s mansion ended up going to a Democrat, Andy Beshear.
This, of course, has a lot of people worried. After all, if Republicans want to get anything done, they’re going to have to play ball with the Democrat in the governor’s mansion. What does this mean for gun rights?
Democrats in the legislature wasted no time at all in filing gun control bills in hopes that they might somehow make it through the wheeling and dealing bound to take place.
In response, though, gun rights activists swarmed the capitol in an effort to make sure their voices were heard.
More than a hundred pro-gun demonstrators greeted lawmakers as they returned to Frankfort Tuesday for the start of the 2020 legislative session.
Kentucky United, a group dedicated to protecting the Second Amendment, organized the rally to protest half-dozen proposed gun control bills that have already been filed.
“They’re filing bills that take away gun ownership from law-abiding citizens,” said Mark Shumaker, a member of Kentucky United.
Shumaker said he believes any law that restricts a person’s ability to own firearms is an infringement on their constitutional rights. Kentucky United is also spearheading a movement to declare dozens of the state’s counties as “Second Amendment sanctuaries.”
State Rep. Jeff Donohue, a Democrat, is sponsoring one of the bills the group is protesting. The legislation would define “assault weapons” and “large-capacity ammunition-feeding devices” and require gun owners to register both. On Tuesday, Donohue said he withdrew that particular bill, but was filing a similar one.
“That bill’s not going to pass. It’s not going to pass. But what the good thing is it’s going to generate the conversation,” Donohue said.
Except it’s unlikely that any of those bills are going to pass.
While Beshear is a Democrat, he ran on a lot of different issues, issues that are likely a much higher priority than gun control. Donohue’s bill isn’t going anywhere and it’s unlikely that Beshear will use his political capital to get that bill’s passage. Frankly, I’m not sure he has that much capital. Even if he did, though, any kind of assault weapon ban would deplete it so completely that nothing else would get done. That’s including him wheeling and dealing.
Since he ran on education and Medicaid expansion as primary issues, those are likely to be bigger priorities. While he’s supported some gun control bills, I don’t think he’s going to risk his entire agenda on those policies.
The fact that a hundred activists showed up in the middle of the week is also likely to not be lost on Beshear. It’s a reminder that he may have won the governorship, but he did it in a red state and had best watch how progressive he leans with his own policy positions lest he find himself out of work in four years.
Hopefully, Beshear will understand this and recognize that gun control is a losing issue for him and his fellow Democrats.
Then again, Democrats seem to never grasp that gun control is a losing issue, so why should he be different?