The Clinton assault weapons ban booted a lot of Democrats out of office. As a result, they mostly stayed away from gun control for a generation. That’s not the case any more.
While the “blue dogs” centered in rural districts provided the core internal Democratic resistance to gun control in earlier years, advocates are confident the universal background check bill will draw support from almost all of today’s largely suburban blue dog caucus, starting with its chair, Rep. Stephanie Murphy, an Asian-American and strong gun control advocate who represents a seat outside Orlando. Although the blue dogs will likely resist the left’s most expansive plans for taxing and spending, most of them comfortably embrace the party’s liberal mainstream on cultural issues.
Today’s blue dogs “don’t look anything like … the guys who were voting against those things under Clinton,” said Bennett. “The most avowedly conservative of the Democrats, the centrists, even most of them are going to be on board for these (social) things.”
(Giffords executive director Peter) Ambler anticipates that more Republicans will cross over to support the background check bill than Democrats will defect to oppose it. And both Ambler and (Democratic Rep. Ted) Deutch consider it likely that House Democrats will pass other gun-related legislation over the next two years, such as measures to raise the minimum age for gun purchases to 21; “red flag” laws designed to make it easier for law enforcement to confiscate guns from individuals considered an “extreme risk” of violence; and possibly legislation to ban certain types of semiautomatic assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.
Deutch has introduced legislation to regulate assault weapons under the National Firearms Act, which bans fully automatic weapons. “We are going to have a debate on weapons of war and whether they belong in our community or not,” Deutch says.
– Ron Brownstein at CNN in Why Democrats are not afraid of gun control anymore