Democrats Seeking Pro-Gun Candidates to Push Background Check Agenda

Monday, 29 Apr 2013 12:53 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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The Democratic Party is courting pro-gun candidates in key Senate races at the same time the party is backing tougher gun-control legislation, a contradiction that Republicans are trying to turn to their advantage.

“Washington Democrats preach gun control, but are recruiting adamantly pro-gun candidates like [former Montana Gov. Brian] Schweitzer and [former South Dakota Rep. Stephanie] Herseth Sandlin. Can't be both,” Brad Dayspring, communications director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, posted on Twitter.

But according to The Hill, the Democrats justify their efforts as smart politics, saying the races in Montana, South Dakota, and elsewhere could help put Democrats in the Senate who would be sympathetic to sensible gun-control efforts while still drawing support from gun advocates back home.

Both Schweitzer and Herseth Sandlin have "A" ratings from the National Rifle Association and polls show them as the leading potential Democratic candidates in the 2014 Senate races. The party believes both are likely to support reasonable gun-control efforts, especially the expanded background checks for commercial sales that went down to defeat earlier this month.

Schweitzer went on record with the National Journal as being in favor of background checks, but it was unclear if he would have supported the bipartisan Senate bill authored by West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin and Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey.

Schweitzer also told the Journal that he supports the right to have guns, noting that he has “more [guns] than I need and less than I want.”

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