Pelosi Attack Highlights Rising Fears of Political Violence
The Democratic Party has faced criticism, even from within its own ranks, for its lack of urgency on gun control.
A new poll shows growing political anxiety over gun violence, with only 48 percent of respondents saying they feel more safe since a mass shooting in Parkland, Florida—an increase from 53 percent in April.
A Pew Research Center poll released Friday showed that while support for stricter gun control has grown, only half of Democrats now believe the country is safer as a result of stricter gun laws.
“I think the big story is actually growing support for gun restrictions, but also a growing sense of fear that more shooting is inevitable,” said Andrew Smith, a political scientist at the University of Michigan.
The survey was taken as Democratic presidential front runner, Bernie Sanders, traveled through several states on the campaign trail, a development that’s come as a shock to those who expected the senator from Vermont to be the party’s most visible candidate.
Still, there were signs a national reckoning with gun violence could already be brewing. On Tuesday, Sanders unveiled a sweeping gun control plan that would arm teachers with concealed weapons permits, while also calling for mandatory buybacks of assault weapons and ammunition, as well as a national database for background checks.
“The Democratic Party has seen a lot of criticism of its inaction on guns … in the wake of mass shootings in Paris. That has to change,” Smith told The Hill.
“I think the Republican Party has a lot of the same criticism—there’s more and more Republicans who want to know the answer to ‘What do you do about it?’”
Sanders has long had a history of being skeptical of government regulation, even of its own gun restrictions. But now he’s the presumptive nominee, and could shift the Democratic Party’s position on gun control.
And a backlash against Democrats who haven’t been bold enough on gun control could start to build in earnest.
A study from the political science department at the University of Maryland found that Republicans are more supportive of