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Hints of hope, pushing back against gun fundamentalism

From a Tuesday blog post  by Rob Schofield with N.C. Policy Watch:

Yesterday, the Republican Governor of South Carolina reversed her longstanding position to the contrary and called for one of the nation’s most potent emblems of racism – the Confederate flag – to finally be removed from the grounds of the state capitol.

As the Associated Press reported:

“The Republican’s about-face Monday comes after nine black church members were gunned down, allegedly by a young white man who embraced the flag as a symbol of white supremacy.

Haley was surrounded by Republicans and Democrats alike and received a loud applause and cheering when she made her announcement. The flag has flown in front of the state capitol for 15 years after being moved from atop the Statehouse dome.”

Meanwhile, here in North Carolina, where another hate-filled fiend executed three innocent Muslim Americans just a few months ago, there are growing signs that the movement to force guns into every nook and cranny of society may, at last, have peaked and started to ebb.

For evidence, consider the actions of the thoroughly conservative and Republican membership of the North Carolina House of Representatives in recent weeks as it radically altered an omnibus bill pushed hard by the state’s pro-gun lobby. The bill, which as introduced, would have dramatically loosened the state’s already weak gun laws, is now just a shadow of its original self.

As Jorge Valencia of WUNC radio explained last week:

“The North Carolina House of Representatives voted Tuesday afternoon to remove the most controversial portions of a bill that would have allowed some people to buy handguns without a permit. It would have also allowed lawmakers to carry pistols on General Assembly grounds.

“The bill, tentatively approved in a 77 to 38 bipartisan vote, was one of the most controversial legislative proposals this session. … Largely declawed, its most immediate effect will be to order local courts to increase the information they report to a national database to the National Instant Criminal Background Check for firearm sales.”

House members also removed provisions that would have limited the ability of doctors to ask about guns in the home and prohibited them from sharing information about gun possession with law enforcement and would have allowed convicted stalkers to get concealed carry permits after five years. …

Of course, the mere fact that one house of the North Carolina legislature took a few steps to water down a dreadful bill hardly constitutes a radical change in direction. Indeed, given the state Senate’s well-documented penchant for bowing to the demands of far right moneyed interests, there is every reason to expect that some or all of the bill provisions deleted in recent weeks will reemerge later this summer.

That said, there was still something symbolically important in the House’s actions last week. … A large number of extremely conservative politicians who support the right to own guns nonetheless calculated that there was more to gain from standing with public opinion and average North Carolinians when it came to maintaining modest, common sense regulations.

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