There's a reason GOP candidates don't favor gun control

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Republicans aren’t universally pro-gun, as we’ve recently seen. However, they generally are far more pro-gun than their opponents. That’s why most gun rights advocates tend to vote for Republican candidates.


Yet this baffles many people for some reason.

Sometimes, someone who is baffled by this takes to the op-ed pages to express their bafflement.

Red states and blue states.

Big cities and small towns.

The young and the old.

It doesn’t matter to the bullets.

And this toll doesn’t matter enough to Republican members of Congress. There’s no need to soft-shoe it. Popovich didn’t.

“I mean, I couldn’t believe it, so I wrote this thing down, but Sen. Marsha Blackburn, her comment after was, after the massacre, ‘My office is in contact with federal, state and local officials and we stand ready to assist,’” [Spurs’ head coach Greg] Popovich read. “In what?! They’re dead,” he shouted before later adding: “The greed of the gun lobbies and the manufacturers is obvious. … Money talks, but the cowardice and the selfishness of the legislators who are so scared to death of being primaried and losing their job…”

He’s right about all of it.

And the fact that he’s not afraid to call out conservatives by name on this issue while also being one of the most recognizable faces in Military City, USA, should tell you just how out of touch some of the Republicans in Congress are. They don’t know their own base. Why are elected officials so worried that gun legislation would stir up opposition in their next primary? Backing gun control measures that 90% of Americans support is not dangerous. There would be nothing brave about a Republican coming out in favor of universal background checks.


A basketball coach who happens to be in a heavily military city takes an anti-gun stand and that’s supposed to mean something?

San Antonio may be dubbed Military City, USA, but it’s still a large city. Further, many of those military folks don’t vote in Texas. They’re registered in their home states, which means that it’s the full-time residents who determine the city’s politics…and are the ones generally buying Spurs’ tickets.

Whether Popovich’s plea will do anything to ticket sales remains to be seen. Regardless, him spouting nonsense doesn’t actually mean anything except that he spouted nonsense.

But the author continues…

Politicians who cling to once-safe positions will be left behind when public opinion turns, as it has on gun policy.

Republican voters, you should have options in your primary. There should be some GOP candidates who agree with the American public that Congress should do something to curb gun violence. It is possible to dislike President Biden and still vote for someone who has more to offer after a mass shooting than thoughts and prayers.

The reason nothing changes is that we have a tendency to treat primary season as the warm-up act for the general. In Texas, where the Uvalde massacre happened not quite a year ago, fewer than 1 in 5 registered voters participated in the 2022 primary.

The gun lobby is not the sole reason for our growing problem with gun violence. The cowards Popovich spoke about are the beneficiaries of an electorate that waits until November. It’s in the primary where more solutions to our gun crisis lie.


What she doesn’t seem to understand–then again, she thinks a coach spouting off means something, so her lack of understanding shouldn’t be shocking–is that there’s a reason why those polling numbers haven’t turned into Republican anti-gun votes.

First, there’s the fact that when we look deeper at many of those anti-gun policies supposedly enjoying broad support, we find issues with the polling itself. “Do you support background checks on gun sales?” is an easy question to ask, and many would say yes. They’re assuming you mean our current background check system.

When they’ve been asked more detailed questions, a lot of that falls apart.

And that’s not just Republicans, either. That’s across the political divide.

Further, what the author doesn’t get is that even if a Republican would like to see something like universal background checks, they often don’t rate it that high of a priority. They prefer to focus on other issues like economics or crime. As such, they’re not going to vote for anti-gun candidates since those also tend to be bad on a number of other issues as far as such voters are concerned.

But hey, I can’t stop someone from dreaming. She’s welcome to believe that a basketball coach with a long history of social activism continuing it actually means something if she wants to. She’s also free to believe she’s an alien from the planet Zanzabah if she wants.


They have about as much accuracy.

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