Wednesday, October 4, 2023

California's Newly Appointed Senator Laphonza Butler to Uphold Dianne Feinstein's Gun Control Stance

Maryland resident Laphonza Butler is sworn in by Vice President Kamala Harris as the junior Senator from California. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

California Governor Gavin Newsom has made a strategic move by nominating Laphonza Butler to the U.S. Senate, succeeding the late U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). Despite Butler's minimal public discourse on gun control, her liberal affiliations suggest she will continue to champion gun control measures.

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The late Sen. Feinstein, who passed away on Sept. 29, was an iconic figure in gun control, having authored the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban signed by President Bill Clinton. Although the law expired a decade later and wasn't renewed in 2004, Sen. Feinstein continually sought its revival. She once expressed to 60 Minutes in 1995 her desire for an outright ban if she had sufficient support.

Given her selection, it appears Sen. Butler will likely follow a similar trajectory. Deeply connected to prominent gun control advocates, she's poised to further initiatives that may restrict Second Amendment rights for Americans.

So, who exactly is Laphonza Butler?

Governor Newsom highlighted Sen. Butler's groundbreaking achievements in his announcement, pointing out her significant representation as the first openly LGBTQ individual from California in the Senate and the first Black lesbian to openly serve in Congress. 

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

Butler's roots trace back to Magnolia, Miss. After attending Jackson State University and facing personal hardships, she became deeply involved in the labor movement. By 30, she was leading the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 2015. Her political involvement is also noteworthy, having campaigned for Vice President Kamala Harris and advised Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential bid. Additionally, she headed Emily's List, a PAC focused on supporting pro-abortion female candidates.

While her direct engagement with gun control remains minimal, the cadre of supporters celebrating her nomination speaks volumes. High-profile endorsements include former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Stacey Abrams, and several other notable Democratic figures known for their gun control stances.

Gun control organizations have expressed their enthusiasm over Butler's appointment. Everytown for Gun Safety's President, John Feinblatt, took to social media platform X, praising Butler and looking forward to collaboration. The affiliate Moms Demand Action also shared their excitement over Butler's historic position and her potential role in gun safety.

In nominating Sen. Butler, Governor Newsom's intent appears clear: to reinforce his gun control vision, potentially influencing national policies in the process and possibly setting the stage for a future presidential campaign.

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