by Samuel Bocetta, ©2017

U.S. Senator-Elect from Alabama Douglas Jones (D)

(Dec. 27, 2017) — Taking politicians for their word is rarely a good idea. There’s no shortage of politicians throughout history who have switched their stances on key issues in an effort to obtain more votes. So, it’s not hard to take a cynical viewpoint when newly elected Senator Doug Jones calls himself a “Second Amendment guy.”

Jones is a Democrat who was running in the Senate Race for Alabama, a state that’s traditionally voted Republican. Even with multiple women coming forward to accuse his opponent, Roy Moore, of sexual misconduct, Jones was still in a tight race and barely won the election. If he had taken a pro-gun control stance, he probably would have lost.

To win the election, Jones had to have just about everything go his way, and it did. To his credit, he ran an enviable election campaign, especially with the way he used social media to garner support. He built a large following, although there are critics who have accused him of buying many of his supposed followers and likes, a popular yet alarming trend in social media. He stuck to the issues where he thought he could swing voters to his side, and avoided going into too much detail on issues where voters likely wouldn’t agree with him, including gun control.

For a “Second Amendment guy,” Jones doesn’t mention any support for gun rights on his campaign site. On his priorities page, he covers health care, the economy, the environment, criminal justice and civil rights, but apparently, he doesn’t consider gun rights worthy of a section or even a sentence.

In an interview with MSNBC, Jones spoke briefly on gun laws, and he first mentioned that there are limits on all constitutional amendments, which is a troubling start. The Second Amendment is clear on the right it grants to all law-abiding citizens of the United States. When politicians talk about setting limits, it means they plan to gradually chip away at that right to bear arms under the guise of “common-sense” gun legislation until concealed carry permits are nearly impossible to obtain, magazines over 10 rounds are banned and citizens are only allowed to buy certain types of firearms. This isn’t some doomsday scenario, either, as it’s exactly what has happened in California.

Jones went on to say that he wants to enforce the current gun laws, which is a good idea. Unfortunately, he then talked about how the biggest issue is shoring up the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) used for background checks in firearm purchases. This may sound good in theory, but what would actually happen is thousands of law-abiding citizens would end up barred from buying guns.

The NCIC discriminates against many people, in particular veterans and the elderly. Since a background check on a gun purchase is a pass or fail situation, someone with a minor mental health disorder could find themselves getting denied on an attempted firearm purchase. Senior citizens with any sort of mental condition and a guardian to manage their money wouldn’t be allowed to buy a gun, nor would veterans with any mental health problems on their record, despite the fact that these issues show no correlation to acts of gun violence.

These background checks won’t be of any use in preventing criminals from obtaining firearms, but they will make it much more difficult for casual gun owners to buy small arms self-defense weapons like the 1911 and .357.

Now, that stance alone may not qualify Jones as the most rabid anti-gun politician, but the response gun control groups had after his victory are also worrisome. Shannon Watts, who founded Moms Demand Action, taunted the NRA immediately after Jones won. Gabrielle Giffords, the founder of Giffords, sent a message of congratulations to Jones. Both Moms Demand Action and Giffords are against gun rights and have misrepresented concealed carry reciprocity as something that would be extremely dangerous.

If Jones was really a fervent supporter of the Second Amendment, it’s highly unlikely that these gun control groups would be so thrilled about his victory. And he would be more willing to make his opinions on gun rights known. Instead, he only mentioned guns during his campaign when asked about them, and he kept his answers short while presenting viewpoints that he seemed to choose to avoid upsetting any voters.

Maybe Jones will end up fighting for gun rights as strongly as he fights for his other causes. But that seems doubtful, especially considering some of his closest supporters are strong advocates of gun control.


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