Suburban voters are pressuring Republicans to act on guns

GILBERT, Arizona (AP) — Following the news in the United States (US) has grown stressful for Angela Tetschner, a 39-year-old nurse raising four children in this sprawling Phoenix suburb of tile roofs, desert yards, young families and voters who are increasingly up for grabs.

“Sometimes I do think about the school shootings,” said Tetschner, who does not pay much attention to politics but has been disappointed in US President Donald Trump, days after sending her five-year-old boy to kindergarten. She’d like to see Congress tighten gun laws, but her expectations for action are low.

Tetschner’s worries are weighing heavy on Republicans in Arizona and elsewhere in the wake of recent mass shootings. The party has seen once-reliable suburbs turn competitive as women worry about their children’s safety and bristle at Trump’s harsh rhetoric on race and immigration, and they embraced Democratic alternatives in last year’s midterm elections.

GOP candidates looking ahead at tough races increasingly are eyeing new ways to address anxieties about gun violence, and to do that without crossing the party’s base, which sees gun restrictions as an infringement on the constitutional right to bear arms.

Republican Senator Martha McSally’s challenge is to navigate that divide. The freshman senator is facing a difficult re-election fight, probably against Democrat Mark Kelly , a former astronaut who became a prominent gun-control advocate after his wife, then-US Representative Gabrielle Giffords, was shot in the head in an attempted assassination in Tucson in 2011.

A vocal supporter of gun rights who once called universal background checks unconstitutional, McSally now said she is open to talking about new gun laws. She also said she intends to introduce legislation to make domestic terrorism a federal crime.

Senator Martha McSally speaks to reporters about guns following a visit to a grocery store pharmacy in Phoenix. – PHOTO: AP