After the attempted assassination of a member of Congress, politicians are passionately debating the role of incendiary rhetoric but very few are talking about guns, reports Politico.com. Those who have brought up gun control in light of the Tucson shooting have largely been the issue's regular standard-bearers on Capitol Hill. Even gun-control advocates aren't very optimistic about their chances.
The fact that the shooting is not prompting an episode of hand-wringing is the way the gun lobby likes it. That the gun issue has been so secondary indicates the extent to which the issue has subsided in the past decade. A bipartisan truce is in effect on gun control issues in Washington, on the National Rifle Association's terms. The political consensus has only hardened as Democrats made inroads into Republican territory largely on their ability to neutralize the gun issue. Some of their red-state victories were with pro-gun candidates such as Montana Sen. Jon Tester and Virginia Sen. Jim Webb. Chad Ramsey of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence hopes that lawmakers will no longer see the issue as disposable after the Giffords shooting. The nation's ever-loosening gun laws are a “result of this willingness to allow the gun issue to slide,” he said. “Folks said, 'We'll let them have the gun issue; it's politically better to do that.' Maybe some of them now will say, 'Maybe that was a bad idea. Maybe I should have stood up.' “