Fri Feb 15, 2013, 09:19 PM
WillyT (58,073 posts)
:shrug: - Politics...
Evolving on Gun Control in Chicago
Second thoughts on the Second Amendment in the race to replace Jesse Jackson Jr.
By Eliana Johnson - NationalReview
FEBRUARY 15, 2013 4:00 A.M.
After a long wait, Illinois’s second district will soon have a representative in Congress. That seat has been vacant since Jesse Jackson Jr. resigned from it in November, and the bizarre politics of gun control may determine who its next occupant will be. As the issue plays out on the national stage in the wake of the massacre in Newtown, Conn., it can be seen in microcosm in the Illinois race, where 17 Democrats are fighting for their party’s nomination in advance of a primary set for February 26.
The salience of the gun issue has provided an opportunity for anti-gun activists to target allegedly pro-gun Democrats in their ranks. It has also exerted enormous pressure on erstwhile strong backers of the Second Amendment to fall in line with the party’s left wing. In the Illinois race, they have done so expeditiously.
New York City mayor and anti-gun activist Michael Bloomberg is aiming his fire — at the cost of over a million dollars — at former Illinois representative Debbie Halvorson, who earned an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association during her term in Congress from 2008 to 2010. One of the ads sponsored by Bloomberg’s Independence USA super PAC warns ominously, “Gun violence, it’s out of control. Debbie Halvorson will make it worse.” Another charges, “When it comes to preventing gun violence, she gets an ‘F.’”
Halvorson calls the ads “over the top” and “deplorable,” in part because she has systematically disavowed the positions that earned her that “A” rating. With the exception of an assault-weapons ban, she backs all of the proposals set forth by the president and Democrats in Congress. “I have always said, since running in this primary, that we need universal background checks, we need to end the gun-show loophole,” she tells National Review Online.
Asked about her change of heart, Halvorson offers a curious explanation. Because of redistricting, she says, she now represents a different constituency. “It’s kind of ironic that they’re trying to take my stance from my old district and do what they’re doing,” she says. The second district, which is now majority African American and overwhelmingly Democratic, is more urban as a result of the 2011 redistricting process. In other words, Halvorson’s views on gun regulation seem to have shifted to reflect those of her new constituency.
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