June 27, 2016 09:23:28 am
Gun control advocates who have failed for decades to impose sweeping limits on weapons purchases may finally have hit upon a winning strategy as they push for a narrower ban on gun sales to suspected terrorists after the Orlando massacre, McClatchy Newspapers reports.
Compared with previous attempts to impose universal background checks or restrict gun show transactions, the new push has two features that make it more politically palatable: It would apply to a very small group of people instead of to all Americans, and it is tied to the nation’s broader anti-terror initiatives. “Polling shows that the public overwhelmingly believes this is the way to go,” says Richard Benedetto, a political science and journalism professor at American University. “There is no question that the Democrats see this as a political strength for them and are playing it to the hilt, down to the occupation of the House. They basically see themselves on the side of the angels right now.”
The extraordinary Democratic sit-in last week in the House of Representatives, waged as a protest against House Republican leaders’ refusal to take up measures imposing the so-called “no fly, no buy” limits, left gun control supporters feeling like they’d turned a legislative loss into a political victory. As many as 168 Democratic House members and 34 Democratic senators took part, including 50 who spent the night. Such a limited ban might not have prevented Omar Mateen from purchasing the assault rifle and semi-automatic revolver he bought on successive days from two Florida gun stores about a week before he opened fire in the wee hours of June 12 at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando