Both candidates in an eastern Pennsylvania district claim the gun-control mantle. Two national advocacy groups endorsed a Republican incumbent. Democrats say their candidate is stronger on the issue.
Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was killed in the February Parkland school shooting, visited Pennsylvania this week to endorse Scott Wallace, the Democratic House candidate in Pennsylvania’s First District. The district is home to one of 2018’s most important congressional races, says the New York Times. It is largely such districts that will determine whether Republicans keep their House majority. It is largely gun policy that will determine which way some of these districts go. Guttenberg hopes his presence will help push candidates like Wallace, a lawyer and philanthropist, over the finish line.
In this district, however, both candidates claim the gun-control mantle. Wallace has called for measures like universal background checks and bans on high-capacity magazines, bump stocks and certain semiautomatic weapons. Two advocacy groups — Everytown for Gun Safety and former Rep. Gabby Giffords’s namesake organization — endorsed the Republican incumbent, Brian Fitzpatrick. Among other things, they cited Fitzpatrick’s vote last year against a “reciprocity” bill that would have forced states to honor concealed carry permits granted by other states. These endorsements angered many of Wallace’s supporters, and that anger was on full display at an event this week. Several Bucks County leaders of Moms Demand Action, an arm of Everytown, left the organization this week in protest, saying they could not “meaningfully volunteer our time under the umbrella of an organization that makes decisions which impede the progress of our gun violence prevention goals.” One Democrat suggested that a vote for Fitzpatrick would be a vote “for someone who’s with you maybe 10 percent of the time, when it seems politically expedient to be there.”