By Frank Schaeffer
America does not have a gun problem. It has a Republican Party problem. ONLY Republican leaders-not even most Republican voters-are in lock step with the gun industry.
If there is any hope for congressional action on gun control in the aftermath of the Uvalde tragedy—or another mass shooting in the future—it almost certainly will require the elimination of the filibuster. Period. Everything else is just nonsense. The Senate’s small-state bias is impeding legislative action on guns but other issues too on which Americans broadly agree, including climate change, abortion, and immigration.
As with gun control, polls consistently show that a majority of Americans support acting on climate change, oppose overturning Roe, back comprehensive immigration reform. The Senate’s inaction on these issues reflects the outsize influence of states with the highest gun-ownership rates—which are ALSO those enmeshed in the fossil-fuel economy, with high shares of culturally conservative white evangelical Christians. DUH!
Even most Republicans who do own guns said in the polling that they support background checks and oppose permitless concealed carry (which more red states, including Texas, are authorizing). Despite all of this, Republican elected officials, in their near-lockstep opposition to gun control, have bent to groups like the NRA in equating almost any restrictions as a sign of disrespect to the values of red America.
In their opposition to gun control, Republicans in Congress clearly are prioritizing the sentiments of gun owners in their party over any other perspective, even that of other Republican voters. The Pew polling found that significant majorities of Americans support background checks (81 percent), an assault-weapons ban (63 percent), and a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines (64 percent); a majority also opposes concealed carry of weapons without a permit.
After the Sandy Hook mass murder, the Senate in 2013 voted on a measure backed by President Barack Obama to impose background checks on all gun sales. It, too, was blocked by a Republican filibuster in the Senate put there by small state evangelical rubes.
Democrats have won the popular vote in seven of the past eight presidential elections, something no party had done since the formation of the modern party system in 1828. Yet Republicans have controlled the gun carnage, the anti-women crusade and the stripping of voting rights. The disproportionate influence of small states with evangelical majorities has come to deform the competition for national power in America in favor of backward myth-embracing gun loving conspiracy-embracing MAGA goofs.
Evangelicals are your enemy: Their demands to own weapons of mass destruction mean schoolchildren are targets. Because of their political zealotry, fed by the myth that White Evangelicals are being replaced, guns are America’s problem. And until the filibuster is overturned these evangelicals have made the rest of us-the vast majority-powerless to protect our children.