Gun control is emerging as one of the top issues for Democrats running in the midterm elections, according to a new report.
The Wall Street Journal cited statistics and interviews with Democratic candidates to show the controversial issue that was not always such a polarizing issue is now a hot-button topic in the wake of high-profile shootings nationwide.
“There’s a counter-energy now because for a long time, it was pretty one-sided,” Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, told the Journal of the gun control debate. Ryan at one time had an “A” rating from the NRA, but that plummeted to a “D” in 2016. He has not yet been scored this year.
Ryan said mass shootings such as the one at a Parkland, Florida, high school in February demand action from politicians. He said if lawmakers are “not doing anything, you hold that position to your own peril, political peril.”
As recently as 2010, the NRA supported several Democrats who either represented or were campaigning to represent areas that embraced gun rights. The NRA gave money to several dozen Democratic candidates during the 2010 midterm elections cycle, but that figure is down to three this year.
Democrats have tried to join forces and align themselves with as many gun control groups as possible in the wake of shootings that have shaken the nation to its core, such as Sandy Hook (2012), Las Vegas (2017), and Parkland (2018).
What is more, some Democrats have changed their public stance on gun rights. Former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., who represented Arizona’s first district from 2009-2011 and 2013-2017, was against gun control in her early days of national politics and had an “A” rating from the NRA, the Journal noted. She is campaigning to return to the House this year on a gun control platform after getting rid of all the firearms in her home.