Democratic Senator Mark Warner has an A rating from the NRA, but that isn’t stopping him from calling for rational gun control laws.
Here is the video of Sen. Warner on WTVR CBS 6:
Warner said, “I believe every American has Second Amendment rights, the ability to hunt is part of our culture. I’ve had a NRA (National Rifle Association) rating of an “A” but, you know, enough is enough. I think most of us, realize that there are ways to get to rational gun control. There are ways to grapple with the obvious challenges of mental illness.”
The conventional Beltway wisdom since the Newtown shooting has been that any new gun control law would be difficult to pass because of the NRA’s influence over members on both sides of the aisle, but Mark Warner’s support for gun control is the biggest sign yet that NRA is not nearly as influential as it has been made out to be.
If more Democrats follow Warner’s lead, the Republican Party will be forced into another uncomfortable defense of one of their special interests against the wishes of a majority of Americans. A new ABC News/ Washington Post poll found that 54% of Americans now support stricter gun control laws. Fifty two percent favor banning semi-automatic handguns, and 59% favor banning high capacity magazine clips.
Fifty two percent of Americans agree with Warner that this is broader problem than just guns. It is heartening to hear the Senator and so many others talk about mental health issues along with guns. It turns out that most Americans are smart enough to know that a new gun control law isn’t going to solve the problem. Solutions like investing in our dismantled and dilapidated mental health treatment system also have a large role to play.
We can have sensible gun laws without banning all guns. Public policy does not have to be a zero sum game.
I suspect that Mark Warner isn’t the only member of Congress with an A rating from the NRA who is considering a change of heart. For decades U.S. gun policy has been completely irrational. It may have taken the senseless murder 20 innocent children during the holiday season to help many Americans see the folly of allowing gun manufactures and their lobbying organizations control our policy on guns.