When Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) first became House speaker in 2007, key supporters included rural Democrats backed by the National Rifle Association. Now, Pelosi and many other Democrats are outspoken gun control backers.
The Democratic shift on gun rights has moved at light speed when compared with other political changes in direction, reports the Washington Post. In 2007, when Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) first claimed the speaker’s gavel, her majority was built from several dozen Democrats from rural areas who courted the endorsement of the National Rifle Association. Their ranks swelled later to give Democrats the largest congressional majorities of this century. In the four years Democrats held the House majority, they never advanced a significant gun-control measure. In the eight years they controlled the Senate, Democrats held just one meaningful debate on reining in gun laws, in spring 2013. It ended amid a Republican filibuster.
Tuesday, eight years to the day after she was shot and nearly killed, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) returned to the Capitol with Pelosi and Democrats back in charge of the House, fueled this time by dozens of newcomers who ran against the NRA. Giffords endorsed legislation that would impose background checks on all gun sales and most gun transfers. The bill, numbered H.R. 8 to mark the anniversary of the shooting, is expected to pass the House easily, the first of what promises to be several attempts to combat mass shootings and other gun violence. Giffords, 48, walked onto the House floor with Pelosi and a few other Democrats, getting an emotional standing ovation from both sides of the aisle. With her husband, Mark Kelly, she helps run an organization to combat gun violence. Still, new gun-control efforts face an uphill climb to get enacted into law, given the Republican majority in the Senate and President Trump’s patronage of the NRA’s political operation. Republicans will continue to fight these proposals. The say the shooter who wounded Giffords bought his gun legally.