Republicans have cracked on gun control, but not broken yet

AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File

With the most recent cluster of mass shootings, gun rights advocates are looking to Republican lawmakers to hold firm against gun control.

Democrats aren’t interested in it. At best, some are just going to lay low and vote whichever way the polls say they should vote. None are going to stand up to the rest of their party for our rights.


Which means Republicans have to hold the line.

However, we’ve seen problems with that strategy already. As the AP put it, cracks have formed.

There have been a few cracks in the predictable pattern of Republican-controlled states loosening gun laws while Democratic states tighten them. But it’s far too soon to say the GOP is changing direction even amid a record-setting pace for mass killings in the United States.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican, is sticking by his plan to call a special legislative session on gun control. Lee had asked lawmakers to pass a bill allowing judges to take away guns from people who the judge thinks pose an imminent threat to themselves or others. Lee shies away from calling his plan a red flag law, which he calls a “toxic political label.”

And two Republicans in a Texas legislative committee broke ranks to advance a bill that would raise the purchase age for semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21.

“We cannot assume that gun safety is not possible in states led by Republicans,” said Allison Anderman, who tracks state legislation for the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which favors more restrictions.


Yeah, this isn’t a good sign. Gov. Lee signed constitutional carry in his state only to now push a red flag law–I know he refuses to call it that, but it is what it is. Texas Republicans are considering gun control. Texas.

However, this isn’t a black-pill moment. The wall hasn’t crumbled yet.

Still, a quick Republican turnaround is unlikely after decades of making gun rights a party cornerstone. Top GOP lawmakers and Gov. Greg Abbott oppose the Texas bill, while Lee has faced resistance from Tennessee Republicans. Nearly half the states have passed legislation this year related to gun policies or school safety, an Associated Press survey found. The bills are split roughly equally between Democratic-led states tightening gun restrictions and Republican-led states expanding gun rights.

No, it’s not the end we’re experiencing, but it could be if we’re not careful.

We’re trusting Republican lawmakers to prevent gun control at various levels of government anywhere they can. Sure, they’re unable to in heavily blue states like California or New York, but they can in states like Texas.


For gun rights advocates with no interest in gun control, the choices are limited. Either replace anti-gun Republicans with lawmakers that will oppose gun control or wait until your options evaporate.

Look, part of the reason the GOP has been as pro-gun as it has been was because they know their base would eviscerate them for supporting anti-gun policies. It’s time to remind them that the world hasn’t changed that much. Without gun owners, Republicans have a hard path to follow if they want to return to office.

There’s a lot of other ground that could be covered. Gun control isn’t the answer and it never was.


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