Even before the recent spate of mass shootings, candidates touted comprehensive plans for stricter gun laws
John Kerry went pheasant hunting in Iowa weeks before the 2004 presidential election. Hillary Clinton spoke fondly of learning to shoot as a little girl during the 2008 Democratic primaries. And facing his own re-election in 2012, Barack Obama responded to a question about the Aurora movie theatre massacre by primarily suggesting the US government better enforce existing gun laws.
For years, Democrats wary of turning off the pro-gun rights wing of the American electorate approached presidential elections with a reticence to engage on the politically divisive issue of gun control.
But today, as the US reels from another spate of mass shootings, the days of tiptoeing around the nations gun laws are long gone.
The sprawling 2020 Democratic field is not only eager to talk about Americas gun violence epidemic. Candidates are touting comprehensive plans to impose stricter gun laws putting the issue squarely at the center of the partys agenda going into the presidential contest.
Theyre out-muscling each other to see who can have the most aggressive platform and thats quite a shift from prior presidential cycles when candidates felt like they had to inoculate themselves with the NRA by establishing their bona fides as hunters and shooters, said John Feinblatt, the president of the anti-gun violence group Everytown for Gun Safety.
I think its fair to say that the myth that this is the third rail is buried once and for all.