Opinion | I Put My Money on the Weeping Mothers at the Tennessee State Capitol

But that’s a reductive understanding of political identity, and I have given up hoping it’s ever going to happen on a scale that would turn a red state blue. I still have hope, however, that fully engaged conservative voters can make their elected officials understand that far-right ideologies have no place in actual governance.

Americans, whether they own a gun or don’t, want guns kept out of the hands of dangerous and unstable people. Americans, whether they vote for Republicans or Democrats, don’t want children to be blasted into bits at their school desks. As we have lately learned here in Tennessee, that’s a lot of common ground.

Already a former U.S. senator, Bill Frist, is publicly supporting the nonpartisan gun-sense advocacy nonprofit Voices for a Safer Tennessee. And down at the Capitol several Covenant parents made a point of thanking Representative Jones for his advocacy. “Y’all mean a lot to us,” one of them said. “I know I’m a Republican, but you guys stood up for us. This is not a partisan issue.”

I was wrong to believe that meaningful gun reform could ever emerge from Tennessee’s special legislative session, and I might well be wrong in remaining hopeful now. I would put all my money on those weeping mothers down at the Tennessee Capitol anyway.

They are fighting for their children’s lives, for all children’s lives. And politicians beholden to the gun lobby can’t hide from them anymore.

Margaret Renkl, a contributing Opinion writer, is the author of the books “Graceland, at Last” and “Late Migrations.” Her next book, “The Comfort of Crows: A Backyard Year,” will be published in October.

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