House Democrats are going on offense on gun reform—and, for once, they don’t seem concerned that the issue will be a political loser.
“Republicans are saying that national security is going to be a major issue in House races,” said Rep. Steve Israel, who heads House Democrats’ messaging efforts and helmed the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for two cycles. “That may or may not be. But I do know that personal security will be a major issue. And if Republicans continue to protect the NRA and fail in their responsibility to protect people’s personal securities, we’re going to make that an issue.”
Israel has led the charge on trying to force a vote on a bill to ban people on the FBI’s terror watch list from buying guns. His caucus has filed numerous procedural motions this week to tie up House floor time and “shame” Republicans into holding a vote on the issue. Meanwhile, Rep. Mike Thompson has filed a discharge petition aiming to earn enough signatures to bring it to the floor—an unlikely proposition.
But Democrats’ efforts aren’t limited to wonky maneuvers on Capitol Hill. Already, at least half a dozen Democratic challengers are hitting GOP incumbents on the issue, and the party’s campaign leaders plan to stay on the attack. “All across the country, all the polling is showing us, all the interactions with constituents—and I’ve been traveling the country very aggressively and extensively—this notion that Republicans’ refusal to allow for a bill to come to the floor that would ban the sale of guns to the people who are listed on the FBI terrorist watch list, it’s a no-brainer,” said DCCC Chair Ben Ray Lujan.