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The Only Solution to Even The Most Limited Gun Control is to Elect Democrats

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Vice President Dick Cheney inspects a flintlock rifle given to him by the National Rifle Association while he is surrounded by NRA officers Sandra Froman (L), CEO Wayne LaPierre (C), and NRA President Kayne Robinson (R) during the 133rd Annual NRA convention being held at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center on April 17, 2004 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Cheney spoke to NRA conventioneers about the Bush administration’s support of second amendment rights.

I have probably told this story before, but I once sat in on a session of the Montana legislature. Some old man, right-wing Republican of course, got up. He represented some ranching district in eastern Montana. He gave a speech in support of a bill that would fund some drug clinic. The speech was basically, “I know that the government spending money is almost always a terrible thing. But this one drug clinic helped my grandson.” End of speech.

It was the Bob Dole/ADA support paradigm just perfected. Conservatives who hate everything except for what helps them without the slightest ability to see that the problem is structural and maybe government can also help others.

That came to mind again when Bill Lee, the vile right-wing governor of Tennessee, had a few friends blown to bits in one of the latest school shootings. Now he wants some kind of gun control. And he isn’t going to get because his own party now thinks he’s a RINO. I mean just because your friends were sawed in two by an AR-15 doesn’t mean you can tell me I can’t have my toy to compensate for my small penis too!

When Gov. Bill Lee of Tennessee began a push in April to address public safety, his family was grieving the loss of two close friends, both educators killed in a mass shooting at a Nashville Christian school.

His call for millions of dollars to harden school security was embraced by Republicans in the legislature, who flanked him during a formal announcement.

But days later, when Mr. Lee, a Republican, decided to go further and ask for an order of protection law that could temporarily restrict an individual’s access to firearms, he stood alone for the announcement. The legislature would wrap up its work by the end of the month without taking a vote to pass it.

Now, Mr. Lee has summoned lawmakers back to Nashville on Monday for a special session on public safety that could include consideration of a limited version of the law. But without the support of most in his own party, that measure appears, once again, destined for failure, underscoring the power dynamics of a Republican supermajority driven by a right-wing base hardened against any potential infringement on gun ownership.

“There’s issues that, really, the governor might have an opinion on, but the majority of the legislature has another opinion,” said Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, one of the few Republican lawmakers to openly back Mr. Lee’s proposal. He added, “It just sometimes takes time, and sometimes won’t happen.”

In the lead up to the special session, Mr. Lee and senior Republicans have instead prioritized legislation that focuses on shoring up mental health resources and policy, toughening criminal penalties for threats of mass violence, targeting juvenile crime and incentivizing the safe storage of firearms.

Some experts have warned that the supermajority’s stance leaves open the possibility that the legislature’s work will do little to stem the toll of gun violence, the leading cause of death for American children, and may exacerbate existing inequalities in the state.

“We need to get away from asking ourselves if anything is going to be good enough and really ask ourselves if the policies that are being put forward are going to be effective, and if they will not be harmful to vulnerable communities,” said Jen Pauliukonis, the director of policy and programming at the Center for Gun Violence Solutions at Johns Hopkins University.

If you don’t want to die from a gun, you have to vote for Democrats. And simply put, for Tennessee whites, that’s not even something to consider. Of course you’d rather die than vote for Democrats. And as Dying for Whiteness demonstrated, this isn’t even theoretical. White people will literally say this on their death beds as they die of conditions that a national health service could solve easily.

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