The gun control long game
Addressing House Democrats during their annual retreat this week, Vice President Joe Biden encouraged them to cast aside two decades of fear about the political ramifications of embracing gun control and to act boldly on the issue.
“The ability, because of all this happening, to misrepresent our positions no longer exists as it did in 1994,” he said. “The world has changed. The American public has changed. You can go into areas you’re told you can’t go and politically survive. I’m telling you, the times have changed.”
‘94 is a key date in the history of gun control politics. That year’s midterm election came after two years of complete Democratic control in Washington, a period in which President Clinton and his party (with some scattered Republican assistance) enacted the Brady Bill and an assault weapons ban, the first gun legislation to make it into law in a quarter-century. But when Democrats suffered an historic drubbing that November, losing the House for the first time since 1954 and the Senate too, it became common wisdom within the party that their activist agenda on gun control had hurt them.