Momentum toward more gun control appears to be fading

by Philly.com  |  published on April 8, 2013

gun control

Amid waves of change in public opinion and demographics, the political landscape has been reshaped for some of the country’s most divisive issues.

In recent weeks, Republicans have found themselves dragged toward immigration reform while Democrats have been falling over themselves to declare their support for same-sex marriage.

But on a third cultural divide where public opinion appears to be shifting in favor of the forces pushing for change – gun laws – the political effort is close to just falling flat.

National polls consistently show that around 90 percent of Americans – 90! – want to strengthen background checks for gun buyers. The proposal is a presidential priority and is emotionally charged by the images of children cowering in the aftermath of the Newtown shooting.

But a critical mass of lawmakers from both parties remains opposed to expanded background checks, and bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines have already been declared politically unfeasible.

A few months ago, the background-check bill seemed like the starting point for new gun laws. Instead of a slam dunk, though, Democrats are now lining up for a last-second buzzer beater to try to salvage a narrow victory.

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