Democratic candidates embrace gun control in notable shift

Democratic candidates embrace gun control in notable shift

Gun Rights

Students return to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., after a massacre there in 2018. (Terry Renna/AP) Sen. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.) held a town hall meeting at Canyon Springs High School in Nevada, the site of a fatal shooting last year. Former congressman Beto O’Rourke (Tex.) carries a photo in his wallet of a victim of gun violence, and often recounts his 8-year-old’s story of hiding in a closet during an active-shooter drill. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) has faced questions about gun control at nearly a dozen events. The 2020 Democratic presidential candidates are embracing gun control more enthusiastically than in any other campaign in recent memory, with emotional appeals against firearm violence and pledges to stand up to the National Rifle Association. As with other issues, the change reflects the party’s accelerating shift toward voters who live in cities and suburbs and are more highly educated. And it forecasts a general-election battle that could test the party’s liberal surge against a deep attachment to gun culture in many parts of the country, including some areas that Democrats hope to wrest from President Trump. Perhaps for that reason, the dynamic falls short of Democrats’ endorsement of such broad, novel packages as the Green New Deal and Medicare-for-all. Instead, the candidates are signing onto a patchwork of individual measures such as an assault weapons ban, universal background checks and “red flag” laws that allow police or family members to petition for the removal of guns from those […]

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