For ages, Democrats have tried to proclaim anyone who said the party was after your guns as a paranoid nut. They weren’t after your guns, they explained, they just wanted some “common sense” gun control meant to keep guns out of the hands of bad people. Nothing more, nothing less.
Yet the mask has slipped once again. Someone has made it clear that they want to come for our guns and rather than calling that person down for overstepping constitutional bounds, Democrats in office and running for office are quick to either back it or lament that it’s much too early for such rhetoric.
However, in the House, an assault weapon ban isn’t a done deal. It probably won’t be, either. Why? Well, CNN was apparently shocked to learn that vulnerable Democrats don’t want to risk their seats by passing an assault weapon ban.
But House Democrats, who are preparing for their first legislative hearing Wednesday on the issue in years, remain just short of the 218 votes needed to pass such a ban on the floor.The contrast between the presidential candidates’ aggressive embrace of a federal ban and the palpable caution of House Democratic leaders illuminates the enormously complex and challenging legislative landscape still confronting gun control advocates, even as polls now consistently show clear national majorities in support for the major components of their agenda, including a ban on assault-style weapons. The disparity is reminiscent of the gap between the fulsome rhetoric from leading Democratic presidential candidates about “Medicare for all” or a “Green New Deal” and the more modest support each measure has attracted in the House.The bill to ban assault-style weapons remains short of a majority largely because of hesitance among just a few Democrats representing districts that voted for President Donald Trump in 2016, especially those with large blue-collar constituencies, according to a new CNN analysis of support for the legislation sponsored by Rhode Island Democratic Rep. David Cicilline.While fully 95% of House Democrats in districts that Hillary Clinton carried in 2016 have endorsed Cicilline’s bill, almost half of the Democrats in districts won by Trump in 2016 have not signed onto the legislation, the CNN analysis found.
This shouldn’t be surprising.
While national polls suggest a majority support an assault weapon ban, none of those polls seem to disperse this support by locality. You’d most likely find that much of the support centers on urban enclaves where you’re going to have a higher density of support for radical gun measures than you’d see in more rural areas.
While, in theory, each House member represents the same number of people, the density of anti-assault weapon sentiment will likely be much, much higher in urban areas where they don’t know anything about the guns besides what the media reports. As a result, the polls tend to show a majority supports such weapon bans.
Yet there are Democrats representing some of those other areas, and they know damn good and well that backing such a measure spells political death.
Look, history has shown us plenty of times that gun control isn’t a driver for the left. People who support anti-gun policies don’t decide their candidates based on just that issue. They’ll ignore a lack of vehemence on gun control if someone else hits all the other points.
Pro-gun voters, on the other hand, use guns as a litmus test for candidates. If they’re anti-gun in any way, they risk alienating their base.
Vulnerable Democrats know this. They know they’re under a microscope and while they may risk a few votes here or there on minor stuff, they also know that going too far isn’t going to win them any votes back home.
Why CNN is surprised to find this, though, eludes me. Anyone with a fully-functional brain should have recognized this right off.
Then again, this is CNN.