In the wake of the shooting in California yesterday, the issue of firearms and the Second Amendment seems to be creeping into the presidential campaign as candidates on both sides stake out positions. Hillary Clinton has embraced the gun control lobby, having met several times during her campaign with “Moms Demand Action,” a group backed by former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg. On the other side of the issue, leading Republicans are pushing back against calls for more gun restrictions, instead focusing on the issue of mental health as well as a drive for legislation allowing national reciprocity for state-issued concealed carry permits. As it stands, Americans have trended away from gun control, though recent times have seen a slight uptick in support, though the level has not reached near the highs of twenty-five years ago.
Report from Politico:
From the stage in Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall last Sunday, Hillary Clinton scanned the balcony, spotted a group of women wearing “Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America” T-shirts over their sweaters and waved her recognition.
Singling out the activists has become a regular occurrence on the campaign trail — a group of the Moms attend the majority of Clinton’s town halls and rallies, with a presence large enough to make it hard for the candidate to ignore. Clinton has met with them numerous times privately, where attendees said she has spoken emotionally about her concern for the future safety of her granddaughter, and taken their questions publicly at town halls.
Now, with yet another mass shooting striking fear across the country after a reported 14 people were killed and another 17 injured in a shooting rampage in San Bernardino, California, Clinton’s embrace of gun control is on the verge of becoming a defining issue in the campaign, with all the political benefits and detriments associated with confronting the National Rifle Association and 2nd Amendment activists across the country.
This makes sense for Hillary, especially during the primary when she’s fighting for appeal among the Democratic party base, which fully supports new gun laws. On the other hand, it can be a political quagmire in the general election, especially in the South and Midwestern states where gun rights are favored much more highly over gun restrictions.
In the end, all reasonable parties want to reduce gun violence, though the philosophical difference in how that is achieved remains a deep divide.