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Incoming House Democrats Embrace Gun Control: NPR

Kim Schrier is one of a number of Democratic House candidates who backed stronger gun regulations and flipped Republican-controlled seats…

Kim Schrier is one of a number of Democratic House candidates who backed stronger gun regulations and flipped Republican-controlled seats in last week’s midterm elections.



Elaine Thompson / AP


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Elaine Thompson / AP

Kim Schrier is one of a number of Democratic House candidates who backed stronger gun regulations and flipped Republican-controlled seats in last week’s midterm elections.

Elaine Thompson / AP

The deadly mass shooting at a bar in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Last week came less than a day after dozens of Democrats who campaigned on promises to strengthen gun laws were elected to the House of Representatives. Across the country, candidates from Virginia, Georgia, Texas and Washington State were bluntly called for more gun safety, seemingly emboldened to take on the NRA.

In total, 95 candidates endorsed by Gifford’s PAC won seats in the House. Giffords PAC is the gun-violence prevention group founded by former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband.

Everytown for Gun Safety, the gun control group founded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, pointed to equally successful results – an 83 percent win rate among its 66 endorsements in federal races.

Both groups insist that in contests where they took on incumbents supported by the NRA, they were more successful than the powerful gun lobby.

In an email statement, the NRA said “gun control was not a decisive factor on election day,” disputed the notion of a “blue wave,” and pointed to key senate wins in Tennessee, Indiana and Missouri, where NRA- backed candidates defeated Democratic incumbents.

Still, the NRA has not seen this level of electoral pushback in a long time. In recent elections, gun rights groups have consistently outspent gun control groups, according to data analyzed by the Center for Responsive Politics. But not this year. Gun control groups spent about $ 2.4 million more than gun rights groups on congressional races in 2018.

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After recent mass shooting, GOP congressional leaders have come under criticism for offering their thoughts and prayers, but little legislative action. The next Congress may be very different.

Last week, after the shooting in California, the likely incoming speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN she wants action on “common-sense background checks to prevent guns going into the wrong hand. “

“This will be a priority for us in the next Congress,” she added.

Following last week’s elections, there is now a committed group of Democrats in the new House who will likely push for new gun restrictions. Still, such bills are highly unlikely to pass a Republican-controlled Senate or be signed into law by President Trump.

“The House is now going to be the seat of power for Democrats at the federal level, so it’s really going to drive the agenda for what the Democratic Party stands for going into the primary in 2020,” said Lanae Erickson, vice President of Social Policy and Politics at the center-left think tank Third Way.

While any gun-related legislation, Democrats may pass may never make it into law, Erickson says, House Democrats can show voters what their party would do if it gains more power.

Democrats newly-united around gun control

But Democratic unity around gun reform is a somewhat new idea. In de afgelopen paar jaar, guns zijn een litmus test voor Democraten, in dezelfde manier als abortie of gay marriage. This cycle, the NRA supported just three House Democrats. Just a decade ago, far more Democrats sought out the group’s approval.


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