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The political battle lines of rifles are shifting



After downplaying the problem for much of the last two decades, Democrats in Congress and on the trail of the presidential campaign have been advancing their most ambitious ideas about controlling access to firearms since at least the 2000 election, and perhaps so far .

New proposals range from a near-universal call from 2020 presidential candidates to ban high-capacity weapons and ammunition magazines to proposals from several candidates to require licensing of gun owners and registration of all weapons or assault weapons . Neither Democrats nor leading gun control groups seriously discussed licensing or registration since the 2000 presidential campaign, when Al Gore endorsed the former and many (including former President Bill Clinton) later partly blamed his loss on George W. Bush in Vice-President's Position

This reversal reflects greater unity on gun-related issues that Democrats have achieved in the last few years after their electoral coalition shifted from the heavily blue collar and In areas where the culture of weapons is strong, towards urban centers and suburbs with white collars, which generally maintain restrictions on access to firearms. Democrats are much more confident than they were a few years ago, in particular with their desire to demand market checks for all weapons, especially compared to other Republicans in the House or Senate who have to challenge significant

But the proliferation of proposals to regulate gun ownership, especially by presidential candidates, threatens to divide Democrats into those familiar with other issues, from immigration to healthcare.

Proponents of liberals and gun control generally argue that it is important to displace the parameters of the debate with encompassing ideas such as licensing gun owners, even if they have little chance of passing Congress in the near future. Peter Ambler, executive director of Giffords, the gun control advocacy group, co-founded by former reporter Gabby Gifords, an Arizona Democrat, believes a more ambitious presidential debate can generate impetus for more immediate legislative priorities.

"People who have long been skeptical of gun safety policy are the same ones who believe that the debate on guns should happen in the four corners of a compromise amendment six years ago," he said. citing the 201

3 Senate vote on universal background checks. "The debate we see happening at the national level, whether we are talking about presidential politics or Congress, stems from the fact that voters across the country are extremely angry with the status quo … The fact that our leaders respond that anger is enormous it benefits our legislative efforts and does not divert attention (by them) in any way, shape or form. "

But it moderates fears that Democrats who put forward the most mythical ideas run the risk of alienating centrist voters who are ambiguous or restless. regarding of President Donald Trump's tumultuous term.

"Political concerns about gun safety measures are not as sharp as they were in 2000, but they have not completely disappeared," says Matt Bennett, executive vice president of public affairs at Third Way, a centrist Democratic group. "Even a reduced NRA is dangerous. More importantly, we don't want to write Trump ads for him. Too much to ask a question like this is a bad idea in landmark elections like this. It won't help us win states on the blue wall we need to defeat Trump and it certainly won't help us win states like Colorado, Arizona, Maine and Alabama to give a Democratic president a ruling Senate majority. "

The momentum increases, and then it slows down

The Democratic Weapons Control Arrangement proposes one of the most dramatic measures for how the party's shifting electoral coalition changed its incentives on issues that divide the country along cultural lines.

In the early 1990s, when Congress the last to deal seriously with gun control issues, Democrats still rely heavily on working-class voters and rural whites, both in Congress and in their presidential coalition to vote. This made the gun raise a point of frequent bitter division in Democratic circles.

When the Democratic-controlled Congress and Clinton passed the Brady bill in 1993 that required firearms purchases made at gun shops, 69 House Democrats – almost all representing rural, blue, or southern areas – they voted no. When Congress and Clinton passed a ban on assault weapons in 1994, 77 House Democrats, almost entirely from the same constituencies, voted "no." Both bills were passed only because a significant number of suburban Republicans passed to support the measure.
The landslide of November 1994 sweeping the GOP to control both the House and Senate, discouraged Democrats from pressing gun control issues for much of the rest of the decade. After being slaughtered at Columbine High School in April 1999, Clinton put the problem on the front burner again. He proposed a package of weapons control initiatives that included universal background checks, or what was then known as the closing of the "gun display door", which allowed sales at similar events to be made outside the review system created. according to the 1993 bill
the Republican-controlled Congress rejected Clinton's ideas, but they restored the dynamic in the Democratic race that ran in the 2000 presidential race. left, former Sen. Bill Bradley of New Jersey paint it "the poster boy" for the National Association of guns.
Both men supported Clinton's proposal for universal checks and the extension of the ban on assault weapons. Bradley also suggested what is perceived as a highly confrontational idea: it requires all gun owners to receive federal licenses and all rifles to be registered with the government. In response to this pressure, Gore takes what is seen as a slightly less polarizing idea of ​​requiring licensing only for new gun buyers and not engaging in registration at all.
But Gore withdrew even from this proposal in the general election. At that point, Democrats were still relying on white rural and blue-collar voters more than they are now, and he apparently lost faith in the licensing plan when he was attacked by Bush and the NRA. As I wrote at the time, "In his second (national) debate with Bush, Gore never mentioned his proposal for a central place – the call for licensing new gun owners – until Bush criticized him; in the third debate, Gore moved the issue of gun control into a discussion about shrinking the government so quickly that viewers may wonder if he has a gun at the back. "
Gore's narrow loss to Bush seizes control of the Democratic Party's arms even more categorically than in the 1994 GOP Congress. After the election, Clinton told me that he believed Gore lost the election. – such as Tennessee, Arkansas and northern New Hampshire – where there are not enough AFL-CIO members to offset the NRA's main campaign

More than a decade has become the conventional wisdom among Democrats that pushing for gun control is elective Russian Roulette While the party held sole control of the White House and Congress in 2009 and 2010, it did not seriously consider any gun control measures, largely because of the concerns of its other legislators in rural and blue dogs.

Pressure for action rises

It only changed after the Sandy Hooke school shooting, immediately after Obama's re-election in 2012. The Republican-led Senate blockade Obama's renewed efforts to pass a universal scrutiny of the past in 2013 d. But just like in failure Clinton's post-Columbian proposals, momentum in the next presidential race: Hillary Clinton ran in 2016 on the most ambitious weapons control agenda of any Democrat since Gore in 2000 and highlighted the issue far beyond that . [19659014] It is striking that even Trump's victory in 2016, by huge margins among white voters in rural and labor groups, did not diminish the renewed interest in gun control among Democrats. The ongoing demand by the Party for Action on Weapons reflects in part the impact of the grim cascade of mass shootings in recent years. But it also builds on the undeniable new realities of the party's election coalition, which has intensified in Trump's metropolitan areas while losing ground in small towns and rural areas where the culture of weapons is strongest. The Democrats' greater consensus on weapons was evident in February, when the House passed a universal checking bill with only two Democratic legislators – both of them predominantly rural, who voted "no."

But the continued impetus from mass shootings – most recently in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio – has inexorably generated pressure for further action. And that is pushing Democrats into a more precarious ground that is testing their new consensus.

The first test of these borders will be renewed in the effort to ban assault weapons. Almost every Democratic presidential candidate has approved restoring an updated version of the assault weapons ban and high-capacity magazines that Republicans and Bush in Congress allowed to expire in 2004.

The House Judiciary Committee has scheduled an allowance for Sept. 4 of legislation banning high-capacity magazines and hearing later that month to ban a gun attack. House Democrats in the swinging districts voiced far more concern about the no-go attack than with background check legislation. But the ban is covered by a critical mass of first-class Democrats, and so far, 13 of the 31 House Democrats in Trump's districts have sponsored a measure to ban the assault proposed by Representative David Tsitsilin of Rhode Island. co-sponsors (including Republican Peter King of New York), and gun control advocates believe he can pass narrowly if removed – though top Democratic aides warn that there are still 218 votes.

The real debate among Democrats is whether it makes sense to have a vote before 2020 to ban assault weapons, because there is virtually no chance for Republican-led Senate to take it into account. Some Democratic leaders and gun control advocates do not want to shift the focus from the issue of universal scrutiny to the background that Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, face increasing pressure to deal with.

"What is useful is focusing on McConnell and what we have already gone through," said a senior Democrat aide who requested anonymity to discuss internal discussions. Others argue that a no-attack vote could put additional pressure on recent Republicans holding suburban cities around major cities – including several in Texas – and that missing a vote will strengthen the NRA, signaling that Democrats remain nervous about the issue. [19659002] The dynamics of the 2020 presidential race . is that the ban on assault weapons – a problem that was too hot for Obama to take seriously in 2008 or 2012 and still faces a strong call for a majority in the House – is now just the starting point.

Following the El Paso shootings, O 'Rourke issued perhaps the largest proposal, requiring licensing and registration not only for all new arms purchases, but for all existing gun owners, according to his national press secretary, Aleyga Cavalier. Rourke also offers compulsory buy-in of assault weapons already in circulation and the voluntary purchase of handguns.
Sep. New Jersey's Corey Booker, who released his plan in May, is not far behind. He was the first candidate to request a national requirement for gun owners to obtain five-year licenses. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Butigig also approved a licensing requirement and Warren would be mandated to register under the National Firearms Act of 1934 all assault weapons (proposed by Legislature) Democratic Republic of. Ted Decch of Florida).
Former Vice President Joe Biden, who plans to release a comprehensive weapons plan later in the campaign has not yet approved the licensing or registration, but his aides do not rule it out. He also accepted a ban on assault weapons and a buyback program, though he did not specify how it would work. His comments in an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper suggest that it would be voluntary, not mandatory confiscation, as O & # 39; Rourke suggests.

Voter Support

Following consistent mass shootings, polls consistently find significant majority on most of these ideas, especially among constituencies targeted by Democrats in 2020. Quinnipiac University poll in May found that 94% of registered voters support universal background checks, 77% support the licensing requirement and 63% approve a ban on assault weapons.

Of particular relevance to Democrats by 2020, these measures attract support not only from major minority, young, and white women's college-educated constituencies, but at least 60% of college students in Quinnipiac's poll white men and 66% of white women out of college also support every idea, according to the detailed results they have provided.

But respondents from both sides warn that support for individual measures is only one indicator of how the problem of gun control actually develops. The puzzling question is whether voters are more concerned about protecting their rights or regulating access to firearms.

On this issue, a NBC / Wall Street Journal poll published on Sunday, similar to many surveys over the years, found the country much more closely divided: 45% of adults worry that politics will lean too much toward restricting gun owners' rights, while 50% were the most concerned, would not do enough to control the regulation of firearms. The results found significant gaps in the two coalitions on both sides: One-sixth in 2016, Hillary Clinton voters worried about a violation of gun rights, while an almost identical proportion of Trump voters in 2016 worried that enough regulation would not be done. of gun ownership.

Universal background checks create a level of overwhelming support, which is extremely rare in American politics on any issue. But there is also evidence that gun control tends to widen the geographical and demographic divisions between the two major parties, which the Trump era has already deepened.

For all the talk of Democrats in rebuilding their position among white voters in the rural and working classes, targeting the party for a more aggressive gun control program makes this less likely, at least among men in these categories. On the contrary, it could help Democrats remove some of the white working-class women who are already showing signs of deviation from Trump on other issues, from immigration to his personal behavior. (В анкетата на NBC / Wall Street Journal малък брой от тях искаха повече фокус върху регулирането на оръжието.) В същото време твърдата линия на GOP срещу по-нататъшен контрол на оръжията може да задълбочи страданието си сред белите крайградски избиратели, особено жени, които вече се оттеглят от Тръмп. [19659019] Дори демократите да спечелят председателството си и да възвърнат Сената през 2020 г., докато защитават мнозинството си в Камарата, всички идеи, свързани с оръжието, които кандидатите за демократ за президент изказват, се сблъскват с основна пречка: предложения като забрана за нападение на оръжие или високо списанията за капацитет много по-малко лицензиране или регистрация на собственици на оръжия – на практика нямат шанс да преминат през Сената, без да прекратят филибустера, което увеличава влиянието на малките селски държ ави, които са най-устойчиви на ограничаване на притежаването на оръжие. Това означава, че ако демократите си възвърнат единен контрол над правителството след 2020 г., контролът върху оръжията вероятно ще се превърне в една от първите схватки в по-голяма битка за това дали партията някога може да постигне най-амбициозните си цели, докато остави филибустъра на мястото си.


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