Wendy Davis’s gut told her not to support open-carry for hand guns on the 2014 gubernatorial campaign trail, but Texans love their firearms—so the Democrat supported it anyway.
In a revealing op-ed published Wednesday in Politico Magazine, Davis took readers inside the complicated politics of gun control for Democrats running in red states like Texas, where she reminded readers that “58 percent of voters in the state think gun restrictions should be either loosened or left alone.”
“I am a lifelong Democrat. I proudly boast an ‘F’ rating from the NRA. And, yet during my 2014 gubernatorial campaign in Texas, I supported the open carry of handguns in my state,” Davis wrote in Politico. “It is a position that haunts me.”
Davis explained that in her state, gun laws are few and far between. Texas doesn’t have an age limit on who can buy guns and once an individual is cleared in a background check, they can get their firearm right away.
Gov. Ann Richards’ loss to George W. Bush in 1994 after she vetoed a gun bill still hangs over Democrats in the Lone Star State, Davis explained. So in an effort to make the 2014 election about reproductive rights and access to education, her campaign sought to neutralize the gun issue in the race against then-Attorney Gen. Greg Abbott (R).
The result was that she supported open carry, a position that ultimately didn’t help her win the election.
“I couldn’t shake the shameful feeling that I had just done something I had never done before—I had compromised my deeply held principles for the sake of political expediency,” Davis wrote.