Indy mayoral candidate catches heat for anti-gun remarks

(AP Photo/John Locher, File)

While there’s no certainty at all, the general lay of the land is that Democrats support gun control and Republicans support the right to keep and bear arms.

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There are exceptions on both sides of the debate, of course, but I’m talking about things as they are in general.

One such exception is Indianapolis mayoral candidate Jefferson Shreve. He made it clear that he wants gun control.

In fact, his proposal is little different from his opponents. The only change is that he wants to basically ask the state nicely.

And unsurprisingly, Shreve is catching heat over his comments.

When Republican mayoral candidate Jefferson Shreve announced last week that he supports stricter gun control and would lobby the Indiana General Assembly for an assault weapon ban, ending permitless carry, and raising the legal age to buy a gun from 18 to 21 years old in Indianapolis, conservative voters and pundits reacted with ire and confusion.

The NRA, which Shreve said he was a member of in April, also condemned him as “pathetic.”

“The election was lost today by Jefferson Shreve,” Jason Hammer, a local radio talk show host on WIBC, said on his show Thursday evening. “He had a chance and now he’s crapped all over his base of law-abiding citizens.”

Shreve has taken quite a risk. He has to appeal to moderate voters in Democratic-leaning Indianapolis, given that there aren’t enough party-line Republican voters to win him an election. But by taking a stand for gun control, he risks losing his base and may not be able to win without them. And some political watchers point out proposing a gun control agenda similar to Mayor Joe Hogsett’s won’t necessarily help him take votes from Hogsett.

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The kick in the butt is that Indiana has preemption. Neither candidate can pass gun control as things currently stand.

Shreve missed an opportunity by basically agreeing that gun control should happen. He could have gone after Hogsett’s gun control plan as nothing but grandstanding, something he knows he can’t legally do but that he’s pushing to try and fool the voters. He could have said, “Since we can’t pass gun control here even if we want to, let’s focus on the things we can do.”

Instead, he jumped feet first into the shark-infested waters of not just alienating his base but also by basically stealing a piece of his platform from his opponent.

Sure, it means that gun control won’t be a significant issue in the campaign, but that’s not likely to help when the pro-gun voters in the city don’t show up to the polls or write in another name instead.

What’s more, the independents who might favor gun control may also recognize that while they want it locally, they can’t have it and decide to side with the guy who has plans he can actually follow through on.

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Shreve blew all that.

The NRA called him “pathetic.” It’s a harsh term to apply to anyone, but I can’t say that they were wrong here. It’s pathetic that anyone running for mayor in a large city like Indianapolis can’t see the harsh reality at work here.

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