Now Sen. Casey Will Support Tougher Gun Laws
In Pennsylvania, if you want to come off as “moderate,” and you’re a Democrat, you’ve got to know where to draw the line. For Sen. Bob Casey, his chalk has sketched out two such boundaries: abortion and guns. Ever since his 2006 campaign, the just-reelected U.S. senator has taken the conservative position on both. He even campaigned in 2012 on his “record of supporting the Second Amendment and the interests of Pennsylvania sportsmen” — and has gotten an “A” rating from the NRA.
After the shooting in Newtown last week, Casey was one of these guys who thought a conversation about guns was probably a good thing to have, but would not outwardly come out for a gun control bill.
“These senseless acts of violence are unacceptable,” he said. “Addressing them will require a comprehensive strategy that acknowledges all of the factors that contributed to this tragedy and takes every appropriate step to protect our citizens, especially our kids.”
Well, it’s two days later. And call me baffled. Because the dude has finally, sort of, taken a stand.
In an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, he noted that after a weekend conversation with his wife on the Newtown massacre, Casey has reconsidered his support of Americans owning assault weapons, and would vote for a ban on both assault weapons and high-capacity magazine clips containing more than 10 rounds of ammunition. He did not say whether he would co-sponsor such a bill—but told the Inky, “If those two bills come before the Senate, I’ll vote for both.” He also said he wishes now he had reconsidered his support of such bans after the Virginia Tech shooting, in which 32 people were killed at that college; and the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting, in which 12 were killed during an opening-night screening of The Dark Knight Rises.
Casey is one of nine Democrats and one Republican in Congress (including Majority Leader Harry Reid U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) Think Progress has highlighted as shifting their gun control positions post-Newtown. It’s a surprise it took them this long.