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NAT’L – GUN CONTROL – Partisan gerrymanders stopped gun controls in five states, think tank says

One of the most prominent talking points in the entire democracy reform movement is that curbing money’s sway over elections is a prerequisite to fixing every one of the nation’s biggest problems. Now critics of partisan gerrymandering are trying to piggyback on that concept. A new study concludes that aggressive legislative mapmaking by Republican majorities is responsible for the lack of any new gun control laws in five states during a decade marked by the accelerating pace of mass shootings. In issuing the report Tuesday, the Center for American Progress, one of Washington’s most influential liberal think tanks, joined the lengthening roster of groups advocating for states to take the drawing of political boundaries away from the politicians themselves in and turn the responsibility over to independent and nonpartisan panels. Fourteen states have already given such panels authority to draw state legislative lines starting in 2021, after the census exposes population shifts mandating new lines that confirm with the Constitution’s one-person-one-vote requirement. Eight of them have also assigned the next congressional maps to commissions. Several states with the full array of partisan power structures — reliably Democratic, solidly Republican and battleground — may soon join that list through legislation or a citizen-driven referendum, but maybe not in time for the next redistricting. All five of the states studied by the Center for American Progress, or CAP, have been on center stage in the gerrymandering debate: North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Virginia.  [full article]

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