IN the aftermath of the Newtown shootings in 2012, national Democrats proclaimed the politics of gun control had changed. After the Connecticut horror, liberal strategists were certain the public would rally to the cause of gun control.
Yet President Barack Obama’s major gun control proposals died without a whimper in Congress. No opponent paid a political price. Today, evidence continues to mount that even many Democrats don’t want to be associated with gun control.
This month, legislation was signed into law in Georgia that expanded the right to carry a firearm. That law allows licensed gun owners to carry weapons in bars and churches (if the business owner or church leadership authorizes it). School boards can allow trained teachers and staff to carry firearms on campus. Licensed gun owners are also allowed to have firearms in airport common areas and in unsecured government buildings that don't have security checkpoints or metal detectors. The new law makes it illegal for the state to maintain a database of licensed gun owners, and eliminates the fingerprinting requirement for gun license renewals.
The gun legislation easily passed the Georgia legislature with several Democratic legislators among its supporters. Most notably, state Sen. Jason Carter, the Democratic nominee for Georgia governor, voted in favor of the bill. Carter is the grandson of former President Jimmy Carter.
Georgia isn’t the only place where prominent Democrats are embracing gun rights and distancing themselves from the national party’s gun control agenda. In Oklahoma, House Joint Resolution 1026 calls for a vote of the people to amend the state constitution to rewrite gun provisions in ways supporters argue strengthen a citizen’s right to possess weapons.
The proposed constitutional amendment reads, “The fundamental right of each individual citizen to keep and to bear (that is, to carry) arms including handguns, rifles, shotguns, knives, nonlethal defensive weapons and other arms in common use, as well as ammunition and the components of arms and ammunition, for security, self-defense, lawful hunting and recreation, in aid of the civil power, when thereunto lawfully summoned, or for any other legitimate purpose shall not be infringed.”