As most congressional Democrats shy away from gun control, pro-gun measures will face little opposition, says U.S. News & World Report. Not long ago, it was the gun lobby on the defensive from the passage of the Brady bill in 1993 and the 1994 ban on “assault” weapons. Some say support for gun control cost Democrats the House in 1994, and former President Clinton blamed it for Al Gore’s 2000 presidential defeat. The early 1990s were “in retrospect, the glory years,” says Paul Helmke, former GOP mayor of Fort Wayne, In., who recently took the reins of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
Since 1999, nine states have eased restrictions on concealed weapons, and NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre says the freedom of gun owners is in “the best shape it’s been in decades.” A ban on police confiscatiion of firearms during emergencies–a response to such seizures after Hurricane Katrina–is making its way through Congress. New York Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler says such a bill would never have been considered five years ago. Gun-rights groups contributed nearly 14 times as much as gun-control groups in the 2004 election cycle, says the Center for Responsive Politics.