Hundreds of legislators from across the country gathered in Nashville, Tennessee, for the annual meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures this week to talk about state policy matters. Most of the more than one dozen GOP lawmakers interviewed by Stateline maintained their firm opposition to new gun legislation in their states. These mass shootings, while tragic, are not reason enough to abandon their principles and pass gun control measures they think violate constitutional rights and a proud gun tradition, they said.
Arizona state Rep. John Kavanagh said he’s not going to follow what he called a “kneejerk” and “absurd” call to ban assault weapons.
“A dramatic shooting does bring attention, but so much is false information,” Kavanagh said. “Everyone is demonizing the semiautomatic weapon that has some mean-looking stuff on it. There’s too much emotion and not enough fact-based reason.”
Kavanagh’s Republican colleague in the Arizona state Senate, David Gowan, added that while “it’s horrific what occurred,” his fellow lawmakers will not change the state’s loose gun laws, such as one that allows people to carry concealed weapons without a permit.
“It’s hard to take somebody else’s freedom away because some people try to abuse it,” Gowan said.
Gun control advocates and some Democrats have taken up the slogan “do something,” after a crowd chanted it Sunday night at Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine during his speech at a vigil for the nine people killed hours earlier.
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