GOP Senator Bill Cassidy Signals He's Down With Gun Control

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Republican Senator Bill Cassidy, known affectionately as “Psycho Bill” by Louisiana conservative radio host Moon Griffon, has not been winning the hearts and minds of conservatives back home.

The state Republican Party has spoken out about his vote to impeach Donald Trump after the January 6 riot and his support of the bipartisan infrastructure bill — a bill he famously defended without knowing what was in it — and his dismissive attitude about high maternal mortality among the black community has earned him no new fans on either side of the aisle.

Nonetheless, the rumors across Louisiana rage on — Cassidy is considering a run for Governor in 2023.

The current governor, Democrat John Bel Edwards, is term-limited, and the Democrats have no heir apparent to his administration. Meanwhile, Republicans have several contenders coming forwards, almost all of whom are vastly more conservative than Cassidy.

Bill Cassidy and Lisa Murkowski (AP/Reuters Feed Library)

The U.S. Senator appears to want to take the Mitt Romney route. He wants to be the responsible moderate adult in the room, and he believes he doesn’t actually need conservatives to win a gubernatorial race.

That much is even more obvious now, given his sudden desire to talk about gun control efforts proposed by Democrats.

Cassidy, who joined Democratic U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, said that federal red flag laws and an expansion of required background checks on firearm sales are is “certainly something to discuss,” though he stopped short of endorsing specific measures.

“We have to do what is required that we can find 60 votes on to keep this from happening again,” Cassidy said.

“Stopped short of endorsing specific measures” is an expected move of a GOP Senator who wants to run for office again in a deep red state.

It is very likely that neither of those policy proposals would actually have stopped what happened in Uvalde, Texas, earlier this week. Red flag laws are concerning. They can be ripe for abuse and pose a threat to due process. It’s clear given the Uvalde shooter’s history that the system once again failed a young man, given that police were called to his home multiple times, but it’s not clear if his behavior during those times would have triggered the red flag laws we see in other states.

And “expanded background checks” as proposed by national Democrats are even worse. Neither of these proposals is guaranteed to stop what happened. But what they will do is make it easier for Democratic politicians to separate Americans from their guns in complete violation of the Bill of Rights.

Which brings me back to Cassidy. His support of opening “discussion” puts him at odds with his own state, which is currently trying to pass its own version of a constitutional carry bill. If he hopes to represent his state either in the governor’s mansion or in the U.S. Senate, he’s going to have to understand what his voters actually want. And taking part in these discussions isn’t it.

And let’s be honest: You don’t believe in starting the discussion with these policies unless you support these policies. Republicans have plenty of ideas about how to address this crisis, but red flag laws and other gun control measures aren’t on the list for a reason. Cassidy, though, appears to be done pretending to be a conservative. His strategy, it seems, is to pretend to be smarter than his electorate, who put him in the Senate for a reason.