Anniversary highlights Democrats’ shift on guns


National News

February 14, 2019 - 11:03 AM

In the final weeks before the 2008 election, Barack Obama’s campaign sent mailers to Florida voters reassuring them that he supported the Second Amendment. In the opening days of the 2020 Democratic primary, it’s hard to imagine any candidate feeling the need to make a similar gesture.

“Guns are no longer the third rail,” said Steve Schale, a political operative who ran Obama’s Florida campaign in 2008. “Ten to 12 years ago, Democrats had to — for political necessity — be really careful about how they talked about it. Now, if you don’t talk about it, you’re not part of the political conversation.”

Democrats are increasingly emboldened to embrace gun control as the anniversary of America’s deadliest mass shooting at a high school approaches on Thursday. The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killed 17 students and staff members and roused a group of young activists who sought to make gun violence a generational issue for younger voters.

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