Advice to Democratic candidates: Virginia Tech notwithstanding, don't be tempted to take on the NRA.
The policy issue bound to gain traction following the Virginia Tech shootings is gun control, especially in light of Virginia's scant restrictions on handgun purchases and gun licenses. But new federal gun-control laws are unlikely to be enacted, considering the Bush administration's steadfast opposition to such measures and the ambiguous positions held by some Democrats.
As we prepare for the 10th Congressional District race and 2008, I hope Democratic candidates resist the urge to take on the gun lobby in light of yesterday's tragic event at Virginia Tech.
When it comes to elections, the NRA tends to get its way.
In his book released in 2004 In My Life, former President Clinton wrote that the 1994 vote to ban assault weapons came at a high political price, costing many House Democrats their seats in Congress and being a major contributing factor in the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994.
We all recall Sen. John Kerry’s humorous campaign arranged photo opportunities of the presidential candidate hunting during his 2004 race. Democrats said the Kerry campaign believed Al Gore made a huge tactical error by repeatedly talking about gun control during the 2000 campaign for the White House.
Despite polls showing the majority of Americans favor gun control, such national surveys don't reflect the issue's political volatility and the depth of feelings about it. Whether is is logical or not, voters in rural and conservative districts seem to not want any type of gun restrictions period.
One day the political winds will shift. Despite the NRA getting its arrogant tail kicked in Atlanta this legislative session, that day is not now.