The Democratic Party is divided on how hard they should push gun control. Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley are trying to tap into anger over gun violence—and the ignorant assumption that stricter gun control translates into greater safety—but the issue threatens to hurt centrists running in battleground states.
According to Democratic strategists in Washington, the politics of gun control have changed, but pro-gun voters historically have a greater impact on Election Day because they tend to be single-issue voters. People in favor of stricter gun control, on the other hand, are typically more motivated by other issues.
“It depends to what extent they push gun control and how it’s viewed,” said Terry Madonna, director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin and Marshall College. “It always has the potential to be a problem depending on how far you push it.”