Being pro-gun, as he puts it, is central to Gov. John Bel Edwards' brand. Along with his opposition to abortion, his support of gun rights sent a signal to conservative voters that the Democratic governor shares their cultural values, Edwards has often said, and helped him beat three prominent Republicans in 2015. This is not a guy who has any interest in getting ahead of his constituents on the issue.
So when Edwards talks about restrictions he's willing to accept, it's probably a pretty good measure of where the center is right now, of which positions are unlikely to send all but the hardest core 2nd Amendment advocates running.
In response to a question posed during his monthly radio call-in show Wednesday, Edwards laid out his current thinking as the country grapples with the latest mass school shooting, this one committed by a former student who purchased a semi-automatic rifle legally then used it to murder 17 people at a south Florida high school.
Edwards told listeners that he thinks better background checks could more effectively root out applicants with mental health issues and violent pasts, and supports denying firearms to people on the no-fly list.
“I really believe that we ought to look at the background check system. Common-sense measures like this enjoy the support of upwards of 80 percent of the people,” he said.
He also thinks bump stocks like the one used in the Las Vegas concert massacre that killed 58 and injured hundreds more, which enable semi-automatic guns to mimic automatic ones, shouldn't be legal.
And he said he's open to raising the age to purchase a semi-automatic rifle from 18 to 21, although he hasn't fully made up his mind. The Florida shooter was 18 when he purchased the gun used in the shooting, too young to buy a handgun or even a beer.
“We have two ages for adulthood, one's 18, one's 21, depending on the activity," he said. "I don’t know if I have a firm opinion on that but I would think that it’s a reasonable question to ask and it’s something that we should consider.”
Some of Edwards' comments have been echoed by a number of prominent Republicans in recent days, including President Donald Trump and Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.
Take that as another sign that this is where the mainstream is right now. Whether that lasts long enough for real change to happen is a whole other story.