The quote of the day is presented by Guns.com.
The expectation that Texas’ Republican voters uniformly hold a fanatical resistance to any regulation of guns, or to any action that would change current laws governing access, cries out for qualification, and in some places is clearly and unambiguously wrong. When asked in the October poll whether or not they support “requiring criminal and mental health background checks on all gun purchases in the United States, including gun shows and private sales?” 81% of Texans said yes, including 93% of Democrats and 75% of Republicans. While there’s little evidence of the short-term impact of mass shootings on attitudes, Republican support for background checks has increased across three items in the UT/TT Poll over a period of six years, from 55% in June 2013, to 70% in 2016, to 75% in 2019. On red flag laws, 68% of Texans expressed support in October polling, including 53% of Republicans.
If majority support among Republicans is not a new development, why would GOP officials raise concerns now? A changed perception of the level of competition between the parties in Texas has them testing the boundaries of resistance to heightened enforcement of existing laws and regulations of gun possession.
Their consideration of a slight shift in gun policy is consistent with the widely recognized reorientation of the legislative agenda after the 2018 elections. In this year’s legislative session, the agenda shifted from matters that lacked both broad attention and support but appealed to the most conservative Republican primary voters, like private school vouchers, regulating bathroom access and so-called “Constitutional carry” laws. New on the menu were issues with demonstrated general election appeal, such as increased funding for public schools and efforts to slow the growth of property tax bills.
For all the emotion surrounding both the desire to prevent gun deaths and the fervent belief of some Texans in the primacy of the Second Amendment in guaranteeing Constitutional liberties, the more mundane matters of policy ownership and political self-preservation loom over the tentative changes in Republican leaders’ gun rhetoric.
– Jim Henson and Joshua Blank in Why Texas Republicans are launching trial balloons on gun laws