Growing Suburbs May be Fueling the Gun Control Movement

| by Dabney Bailey
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Shifting demographics may have led to a change in the political climate as gun-supporting politicians cater to their increasingly left-leaning constituents.

Determining whether a region is liberal or conservative often boils down to geography, with rural areas tending towards conservative, pro-gun ideals and urban areas supporting gun control and liberal politics. Cities aren’t becoming more rural, but countrysides are slowly becoming more urban.

Critical pro-gun states like Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Virginia have been shifting away from their gun rights roots to take more moderate stances on the gun control debate. Sens. Joe Manchin (D, WV) and Patrick J. Toomey (R, PA) both embody this shift. They hail from pro-gun states and have records of supporting gun rights, but these two politicians were instrumental in introducing new language into the gun control bill that helped avoid a filibuster by the Republicans.

Gun control proponent Matt Bennett of Third Way added that the compromise “was very sensible and smart politics because it really meets the moment that we’re in, which calls for that kind of flexibility and compromise.”

Americans saw foreshadowing of this new wave of liberal thought during the presidential election when Obama won swing states Colorado, Nevada, Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio, Virginia, and New Hampshire. The influx of immigrants along the border gives conservatives even more cause for concern. Losing Texas to liberal voters would deal a crushing blow to the right on the federal level.

Democratic Senator Timothy Kaine of Virginia captured the essence of this geo-political shift when he said, “There is a respect for the Second Amendment. But we definitely understand, too, that there are balances.”

This is all bad news for gun rights activists and conservatives alike. American politics have been ever-so-slowly morphing away from red and closer to blue over the past several years – and if geography is the cause, then this change may very well be irrevocable. Americans see evidence of the shift every day as politicians lobby for gun control bills and traditionally pro-gun legislators inch to the left on voting day. 

Source: NY Times, Washington Post