Thursday, March 1, 2018

#NeverAgain: Is Gun Control an Issue Mike Coffman Can’t Finesse?

A new Washington Post-ABC news poll highlights that 77 percent of Americans believe Congress “is not doing enough to prevent mass shootings in this country.” The polls shows white suburban women are the most concerned about the issue. Republican congresspersons in swing districts are the most vulnerable to the passion that has erupted around the issue.

Republican Mike Coffman has won three re-elections in an Arapahoe County congressional district that increasingly votes Democrat for president and other statewide offices. He has shown considerable skill managing highly controversial issues that the national party takes pure partisan positions on, such as health care, DACA and tax reform. Coffman is now dealing with guns. A host of recent headlines have not been good:

  • “Greenwood Village Town Hall: Mike Coffman booed at as people demand action on guns” (Denver Post, 2-21-18)
  • “Rep. Mike Coffman is top recipient of NRA funds among CO delegation” (Colorado Politics, 2-23-18)
  • “Town brawl” (Aurora Sentinel, 2-22-18)
  • “Democrat Jason Crow’s first digital campaign ad targets Coffman’s gun lobby money” (Denver Channel, 2-23-18)
  • Democrats take gun control demands to suburban House races” (CNN, 2-24-18)

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman talks during a town hall meeting
with constituents in a high school assembly hall in Greenwood
Village, Feb. 20, 2018 | David Zalubowski/AP
It remains to be seen if the gun issue has a stronger or longer life than after New Town and the myriad of subsequent mass shootings, including of Congresspersons Gabby Gifford and Steve Scalise, who are divided for and against gun control, respectively.

Coffman is a supporter and recipient of NRA money, which he defends. He does have a limited gun safety platform, including outlawing bump stocks and more federal money for school safety, but the violence that has punctuated the South Metro area from Columbine to the Aurora theater is a dangerous backdrop for a strong NRA-supported congressperson.

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