Washington, D.C. — States could save lives by passing tougher gun laws, but partisan gerrymandering keeps progress out of reach, according to a new report from the Center for American Progress.
The report examines the strong public support in the United States for gun safety measures and how partisan gerrymandering has blocked efforts toward sensible reforms in several key states, including Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Gerrymandering in these states has ensured that control of state legislatures shifted to or remained with Republicans who, for the most part, have refused to allow meaningful debate on any commonsense gun law reform measures.
“It is very likely that, in the absence of partisan gerrymandering, the legislatures in these five states would have passed measures to strengthen gun laws and save lives,” said Alex Tausanovitch, co-author of the report and director of Campaign Finance and Electoral Reform at CAP. “In order to have legislatures that actually respond to the demands of the public, we need to end partisan gerrymandering.”
“Voters have made clear that addressing gun violence is a key issue driving them to the polls, and elected representatives in these states are poised to finally take action,” said Chelsea Parsons, vice president of Gun Violence Prevention at CAP. “Yet unfair districts drawn with partisan intent have stymied progress on this crucial issue, leaving communities in these states vulnerable to gun violence and without the representation they deserve.”
The report recommends requiring independent commissions to draw voter-determined districts based on statewide voter preferences. This policy would end partisan gerrymandering and increase representation for communities that have too often been shut out of the political system.
Read the report: “How Partisan Gerrymandering Prevents Legislative Action on Gun Violence” by Alex Tausanovitch, Chelsea Parsons, and Rukmani Bhatia
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