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Gun control 'dream team' is born: Can it rival NRA for political firepower?

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On Tuesday, Ms. Giffords, a Second Amendment supporter, launched her own political-action committee aimed at raising money to combat the NRA's political influence. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), meanwhile, worked to push through new gun restrictions after noting that "guns have both a noble and tragic tradition in America and in New York State."

On Wednesday, Mr. Obama himself hinted that he may take some kind of "executive action" against gun violence, though experts note that any major initiatives must come through Congress.

"I think there's a large wave [of gun-control advocacy] building, and I think the White House is trying to have it all sort of come in the same direction," says Robert Spitzer, a political scientist at the State University of New York in Cortland and the author of "The Politics of Gun Control." "You have the Bloomberg people, the [James] Brady people, now Giffords, and there's a sense among the political leadership in Washington that they have a moment to really get stuff done and to bring all these groups to bear in a consistent way. This is not a normal moment; it's not normal politics."

The emergence of Mr. Bloomberg, a former Republican, as well as Giffords, a centrist Democrat who owns weapons for self-protection, and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, not only gives gun-control advocates recognizable and heroic faces, but it also is beginning to coalesce a largely fractious movement that has had only a lean grass-roots constituency.

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