Rising Crime Rejuvenates Gun Control Debate On Campaign Trail

The battle over gun control is emerging as a campaign issue heading into the midterms as gun violence rises in the U.S.

The country has seen a wave of gun-related deaths as it reopens amid the coronavirus pandemic. According to data compiled by the Gun Violence Archive for NBC News, firearm deaths increased by 15 percent last month compared to the same period in 2019.

Republicans have attributed the rise in violence to progressive efforts to reform and in some cases direct funds away from police departments. But Democrats say gun policies are at the heart of the issue.

Republicans, on the other hand, have taken a different approach to the spike in gun violence, arguing that it's a result of a lack of law and order.

“Democrats can talk gun control until they’re blue in the face but the problem they face at the ballot box in 2022 is skyrocketing crime in cities and states that they control,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. “Talk of gun control is a distraction to try to hold their base together because when I look at this, the root cause of the skyrocketing crime, outside of coming out of COVID, is really their ‘defund the police’ message.”

The GOP successfully tied a number of Democrats to the "defund the police" movement in the 2020 general election, a tactic some centrist Democrats blame for their narrow House majority.

Still, Republicans see an opportunity with suburban voters living outside of cities with surging gun violence rates. 

“This is about safety,” O’Connell added. “People, particularly the voters that maybe Biden picked up in the 2020 election, those suburban voters, when they don’t feel safe, they don’t care about which party is telling them that they’re going to make them more safe. They want someone to have a solution to make them more safe.”

Read more from Julia Manchester at The Hill

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published this page in In The News 2021-06-14 10:00:03 -0400
Analysis & Political Strategy