The winds of the Internet blow hard and fast, so people don’t have time to read an entire article before they are emotionally invested in it. They mostly just rely on the headline and/or the source to sum things up for them. So, when people started seeing headlines like Wendy Davis supports open carry gun law in Texas it inevitably led to headlines like Davis Takes Friendly Fire on Gun Issue and fair weather friends saying things like, “I want my donation back.” After all, it makes sense that progressives would suddenly feel betrayed when a champion of progressive thought suddenly appears to backtrack and bow down to the gun lobby.
When Wendy Davis was asked if she supported open carry of handguns in Texas she said, “Yes.” ::gasp:: Et tu, Wendy? Could there be anything else to your answer other than that shockingly-straightforward admission? Nah. Well, I mean, except for the very next sentence: “And state government should be sensitive to private property owners (including governmental, education, religious, health care and other institutions) to determine whether to allow open carry on their own properties.” Basically, what Davis did say is that she supports a law that would allow private property owners to determine whether handguns could be openly carried on their property. She did not, as the headlines would have you believe, state that she supports open carry.
Like any reasonable Texan, Davis knows that guns are almost impossible to separate from our lives. But like any savvy politician, she knows that open carry isn’t a popular idea among the public as a whole. The law she’s talking about wouldn’t give the government the right to control open carry; it would give individuals the power to decide where people could open carry. Not only does this empower gun control advocates, it’s perfectly in line with the Second Amendment and appeals to the libertarian ideal of citizen-based regulation.
Even the NRA isn’t fooled by this apparent shift in position. As their spokeswoman Catherine Mortensen pointed out (with no sense of irony), “Voting records speak volumes. As a state legislator, Wendy earned an F-rating from the NRA by voting against the Second Amendment repeatedly. Her about-face lacks credibility.” Well, of course it does! That’s because it’s not an about-face. The only thing that has changed is implication in the headlines.
If you supported Wendy Davis up until this point, then not supporting her now means you’re letting headlines think for you. She has proven to be in favor of common sense gun regulation. Backing away from her now because of this one issue (even if the misinformation was true) is a cowardly way to vote, especially considering how courageously she has fought for the rights of women, students, LGBT, and all Texans.