Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (R), who has been trying to make a name for himself as a maverick in the GOP, on Sunday became the latest Republican to come out in favor of universal background checks on all gun sales.
Jindal is engaged in a dedicated effort to frame himself as a politician outside of the Republican establishment. Last month, he gave a speech begging Republicans not to be “the stupid party.” Presumably as part of the effort, Jindal on Sunday’s Meet the Press, agued that background checks are the most sensible, and agreeable, route to take on gun regulations:
I think there is an opportunity to do something here. If we’re serious about doing something and not just having a political football here, I think we can work with Democrats, we can work even with the administration to say. I think we all agree that we shouldn’t have guns get into the hands with those with serious mental illness. We propose legislation to provide more of that legislation, more of those records into the background check system than is happening today. Let’s fix the current background system.
In January, Jindal pushed to strengthen the system in Louisiana for inputting the mentally ill into the National Instant Criminal Background Check system, but the move was mostly symbolic. Overall, Jindal’s track record on guns has been to side with gun manufacturers over protecting citizens. In 2010, he signed a law that allowed guns in houses of worship. He has also voted to protect gun manufacturers from lawsuits, and vehemently opposes any regulation on high capacity magazine clips or automatic weapons.
Currently, background checks are not required on private gun sales, allowing an easy workaround for criminals or the mentally ill to buy firearms. But 92 percent of Americans think that they should be. And Jindal is actually not a maverick on the issue; Republicans have been tapping into this public opinion of late, with several prominent figures including Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Tom Coburn (R-OK), and Mark Kirk (R-IL) assessing that it’s an achievable goal for Congress to take on.