Congressman Dan Crenshaw entered office with a lot of visibility for a freshman in the House. Maybe not AOC levels of visibility, but it was still pretty high. The former Navy SEAL and wounded warrior was a darling of the conservative movement, the epitome of a “man’s man” in an era when masculinity was facing a soy overdose.
But some of the luster has worn off.
Now, it seems Crenshaw is trying to get it back.
U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw is pushing back at a gun-rights group that has accused him of supporting so-called red flag laws aimed at taking guns away from people deemed by a judge to be a threat to themselves or others.
In a sharply worded email to supporters on Wednesday, the Houston Republican said there was no red flag provision in the big military spending bill that passed the U.S. House on Tuesday, which he supported. He said there are gun ownership groups — namely the Gun Owners of America — accusing him of voting for a red flag law when he did not and would not.
“It’s BS,” Crenshaw wrote to supporters.
“So why have so many on our own side misled you about it? Fundraising mostly,” Crenshaw said. “They want to make you outraged because then you will click on their article or donate money to their organizations.”
Crenshaw then repeated what he told supporters over the weekend in a warning that there are “grifters” within the conservative movement. Though he called out the conservative Freedom Caucus by name in that speech, he also mentioned the Gun Owners of America. Crenshaw, however, was clear in the email to supporters on Wednesday that he still supports the National Rifle Association.
I get it. If someone on my side said I supported something I didn’t, I’d be upset to.
However, GOA’s criticisms of Crenshaw didn’t come out of nowhere. For example, he’s floated a red flag proposal of his own. He later tried to claim that he doesn’t support the left’s version of them, but he really hasn’t made it clear how his proposals would have been any different.
So yeah, Gun Owners of America has reasons to be suspicious of Crenshaw.
It’s easy for him to blast them and say he would never support a red flag law, but the truth is that he already has. Maybe not intending for it to be like the typical red flag laws we see, but he supported a very similar measure that would have been just as problematic.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand it. In the immediate aftermath of Parkland, after seeing all the failures that contributed, it was easy to think something should have happened. I know I wrote about how people should have picked up on the red flags and done something. There’s no reason to think that Dan Crenshaw would have been any different in that regard.
The difference is that when it came down to taking guns from people who hadn’t done anything wrong, I drew back. He apparently didn’t.
Now he’s saying that he doesn’t back those laws, which is fine and good. He should have said it two years ago, though.
Honestly, I don’t like seeing GOA go after Crenshaw, but mostly because there are others who have pushed for worse. However, I won’t pretend it’s unwarranted, no matter what the congressman from Texas may try to claim now.
Maybe he should have offered to sit down with GOA and address their concerns, maybe pledge not to vote for any red flag law while standing with Erich Pratt, and all of this would have been over in 2019.
Just a thought.