Alabama Ready for More Gun Control, Sen. Doug Jones Says

Parkland shooting a turning point in gun debate, senator indicates

Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., is calling for stricter access to guns. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Alabamians are ready for more gun control.

At least that’s what their Democratic Sen. Doug Jones said.

Jones wants tighter background checks for gun sales and to raise the age requirement to purchase a gun from 18 to 21, and he thinks Alabamians are on the same page.

“People in Alabama love their guns, but they also love their children,” Jones told CNN Friday at an event at Birmingham’s Civil Rights Institute sponsored by the Faith and Politics Institute, NOLA.com reported. “And they like to be safe in theaters, and they like to be safe in churches, and I think there is common ground.”

Lawmakers are considering a host of proposals in the latest round of talks surrounding mass shootings after a 19-year-old gunman killed 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Florida, in February.

A Democrat from a deeply red state, Jones has his eye fixed on the middle of the political spectrum and hopes the gun debate can be a harbinger of greater bipartisan efforts on other issues.

“I’m the kind of person that believes especially in an issue like this, if we can make any progress ... it opens the door to so many others,” he said. “We got to get something done, don’t get me a list of things that have to be done ... let’s not cut our nose to spite our face. I went into the Senate with my eyes open about partisan politics ... but I think we are moving in a way that gets things done.”

In the weeks following the massacre, many of the student survivors at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School went on television and radio shows advocating stricter gun control laws. Some now have hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers.

Conservative pundits have cried foul at their often aggressive tactics on television, such as when one student confronted Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio at a CNN town hall.

“I think they’re going have a huge impact. I felt like .. we may have reached that tipping point with not only regard to firearms but to school safety,” Jones said. “People look at the tragedy and say its the tragedy that all of a sudden called us to action. [But] we’ve never had a group of students like we have at Parkland.”

Those students are “going to get people talking,” Jones said, “and their voices are going to be heard all the way to the election in 2018.”

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.