A new bill that allows guns in churches, schools, restaurants, bars (at least if the bearer isn't drinking), and the non-secure parts of airports awaits the signature of Georgia governor Nathan Deal, as today's New York Times reports. But have the gunners gone too far?
Critics say the victories may come at a price as pro-gun legislation pushes up against the limits of public opinion.Yeah? So? Huge nationwide majorities support universal criminal background checks, and the assault weapons ban, and quite a few other gun control proposals. Notice that Republican opposition to these extraordinarily popular laws is an absolute non-issue in the congressional midterms, which are likely to be a Republican rout?
"I do think they've overreached," said Laura Cutilletta, senior staff attorney at the San Francisco-based Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. The Georgia bill, she said, is "so extreme and people do have such a strong reaction to it. I don’t think over all it's a victory for them."
The bill was opposed not only by gun-control groups, but also by the state's police chiefs association and restaurant association, Episcopal and Catholic churches, and the federal Transportation Security Administration. A majority of Georgians also opposed it, according to several polls.
So, no, none of this will matter:
... a January poll by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution ... found 72 percent of registered voters statewide oppose allowing firearms in houses of worship, while 26 percent said they favored the idea....It won't matter because practically no one in America is a one-issue gun control voter, whereas millions of Americans are one-issue gun rights voters.
The poll also asked how did people feel about allowing people to carry firearms on college campuses and in dorms. Seventy-eight percent said they oppose the idea....
This quote, from the Times story, makes a lot more sense:
"I don't think it will backfire," said Jerry Henry, director of Georgia Carry, one of the main local groups that promoted the bill. "You can bet those politicians who voted for it knew what their constituents wanted."They're doing this in an election year. They know what they're doing. Governor Deal is up for reelection, and he's expected to sign the bill. His Democratic opponent, Jimmy Carter's grandson Jason Carter, is a state senator. He voted for the bill.
What could push Americans too far on guns? I don't know how you can have much more of a jolt than Newtown, and, as the Times story notes, "in the 12 months immediately afterward, states passed 39 laws to tighten gun restrictions and 70 to loosen them." A rampant gun culture keeps us at a level of violence no other civilized country would find acceptable, but loosening guns laws doesn't really lead to dramatic increases in violence, or dramatic decreases, so while the gunners remain eternally vigilant, most other voters just shrug and turn away, then go on to vote the way they always did.
Which, for most white people, means voting Republican, and therefore, ultimately, pro-gun. Republicans, even if they support seemingly unpopular gun laws, seem to embody white people's culture, so white people vote for them.
What might change that? Maybe a huge increase in gun violence (although the gunners would probably blame that on gun restrictions, not gun freedom). Maybe Democrats would begin competing for the white vote by seriously pushing pro-middle-class economic populism (but how likely is that?).
More likely, we're going to have to wait until America isn't majority white anymore to see any change in this. That's not expected to happen until 2043, and it'll be a couple mote decades before the effect shows up in voting totals. But until then, nothing's going to change on guns, unless white people develop a skepticism about the GOP.