The population shift from rural to suburban in some states is creating a new reality of gun politics in America, says the Washington Post. In historically gun-friendly states like Pennsylvania, Georgia and Virginia, politicians much cater to the more centrist and pragmatic views of voters in subdivisions and cul-de-sacs as well as to constituents in shrinking rural hamlets where gun ownership is more of a way of life. Sen. Patrick Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican, is an architect of a compromise to expand background checks for firearms purchases, and a handful of GOP House members from the state's suburban areas are poised to back the measure.
Toomey’s role has brought attention to how the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh suburbs have become the state's political centers of gravity. Similar shifts can be seen in other states with fast-growing suburbs, including Georgia, Virginia, Arizona and Colorado. The phenomenon will be on wider display next week when the debate in Congress begins. Sixteen Republicans joined 52 Democrats in supporting initial debate, overcoming the threat of a filibuster by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and other Republicans. Sen. Timothy M. Kaine (D-Va.) estimated that his constituency is 65 percent suburban — and those voters, he said, are looking for “very practical, middle-ground solutions” from their elected officials.