Professor: Charlottesville Car Attack Lets Democrats Run on Gun Control in 2018

AP Photo/Brennan Linsley
AP Photo/Brennan Linsley

University of Kansas professor Don Patrick Haider-Markel suggests the Charlottesville car attack provides Democrats an opportunity to run on gun control in 2018.

He was taking part in a round table discussion moderated by The Trace’s Alex Yablon when he made this claim.

According to The Trace, the discussion began with a clear focus on the violence at Charlottesville. After some back and forth, Yablon asked, “Is the NRA going to follow Bannon and attack the establishment?”

A consensus position was voiced–that “incumbent Republicans don’t feel any pressure to moderate on guns in general elections”–then Haider-Markel interjected, “This is where Democrats have some opportunity. One place to start is with taking a stand on open carry at legal protests. Open carry is a recent phenomenon for the NRA and there are plenty of gun owners that think the NRA goes too far [in supporting open carry].”

A few points need to be made. First, note Haider-Markel’s language; he is suggesting Democrats oppose the exercise of Second Amendment rights “at legal protests.” Secondly, he suggests open carry “is a recent phenomenon for the NRA,” which is a not-so-veiled suggestion that open carry itself is a recent phenomenon. It is not. But Haider-Markel is trying to locate a group of voters who feel themselves poorly represented, then encourage those individuals to vote for Democrats as way of voting against the NRA.

He said, “If the Dems want those voters they have to find ways to acknowledge their fears about gun control while also appealing to their level judgement about open displays of weapons during public demonstrations.”

Keep in mind that this gun control push is not in response to gun violence at Charlottesville. Rather, it is in response to a car attack.

Haider-Markel is KU’s political science chair.

AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at



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