Fresh from a victory in Virginia where Republicans lost the statehouse for the first time in decades, Everytown for Gun Safety is planning on investing at least $8 million in Texas to flip the state House next.
The money will go to defend Democrats and pressure Republicans in swing districts on issues like universal background checks and red flag laws, according to an Everytown for Gun Safety memo viewed by the Houston Chronicle.
This year, Democrats are targeting more than 20 vulnerable Republican-controlled statehouse districts that the GOP narrowly won in 2018. The large influx of cash into those local races could be enough to finally put Texas Republicans on the defensive on an issue they’ve historically swept under the rug.
Even with some of the deadliest mass shootings seen in Texas history in recent years, Gov. Greg Abbott and the GOP Texas Legislature have not only refused to implement basic gun safety laws, they’ve also actually loosened restrictions and made it easier for Texans to carry firearms wherever they please, like college campuses.
Their stubborn opposition against universal background checks– a popular policy that 80 percent of Texans support– will be hard to square with suburban voters who care about gun violence in their communities.
While gun safety has not polled at the top of Texans’ most important concerns, losing out to issues pushed hard by Republicans like immigration and border security, the influx of cash and the recent GOP failure to act substantially (or in any way) while in session could be enough to change what issues most Texans are casting a ballot for.
If the nine state House seats are picked up in 2020, it would mean a grinding halt to the Republican agenda on guns, and more of a chance to see common-sense gun safety legislation that a strong majority of Texans support.
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