Gun control is now a political campaign. This is bad for Democrats, and it could be really good for Republicans.
When the Democrats misread the tea leaves in December and began clamoring for bans on "assault weapons," 30 round magazines, semi-auto handguns that use a clip, gun shows, etc., they threatened something that is held sacrosanct by Americans in both parties--private gun ownership.
Because of this, the atmosphere surrounding the debate has shifted considerably. Thus, whereas less than a month ago Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Mark Warner (D-VA) couldn't wait to grab guns with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), now there is not-so-subtle silence coming from outlying Democrats. Gun control is coming less and less from the Senate and more and more from the President who doesn't have another election to lose.
As my colleague Michael Flynn has pointed out, in the middle of coming for our guns Democrats remembered something that's very important--control of the Senate is up for grabs again in 2014.
That means gun control is now a political campaign that Red State Democrats can afford to lose.
Democrat Sens. in Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia will be up for re-election. These are states with heavy per-capita gun ownership and one ill-advised gun grab spells political doom.
But for Republicans, gun-control-turned-political-campaign is a winner. Proof of this lies in the empty gun store shelves, the massive gun show crowds, and the sold out ammunition stores (online and real) all across the country.
Many of these gun and ammo buyers are voters. And even those who haven't been voters in the past are probably ready to become so now, just to keep the Democrats' hands off our guns.
Fighting for guns is a huge winner for Republicans. This is no time to let Democrats off the hook.