Gun control: The first issue of the 2016 Democratic primary

Some of the weapons collected in Wednesday's Los Angeles Gun Buyback event are showcased Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012 during a news conference at the LAPD headquarters in Los Angeles. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's office says the weapons collected Wednesday included 901 handguns, 698 rifles, 363 shotguns and 75 assault weapons. The buyback is usually held in May but was moved up in response to the Dec. 14 massacre of students and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Gun control: The first issue of the Democratic 2016 primary

The Democratic 2016 primary’s first issue: Gun control

Storified by Digital First Media· Thu, Jan 10 2013 08:12:24

The Democratic primary for the next presidential election already has begun and its first issue is gun control. Three likely contenders are taking a strong stance in favor of new restrictions on guns. Here’s a look at what they’re doing and why.

Vice President Joe Biden

(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
In the wake of the Connecticut school shootings, President Barack Obama appointed Vice President Joe Biden to lead a task force examining new gun control laws. During his last year in the Senate, Biden also sponsored a gun-control law.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

(AP Photo/Mike Groll)
In his annual State of the State address, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo promised to “enact the toughest assault weapon ban in the nation, period,” proposing a seven-point plan that expands background checks and restrict certain guns.

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley

(AP Photo/Brian Witte)
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has said he intends to draft legislation to ban the sale of assault rifles and high-capacity magazines and restrict gun sales to the mentally ill.

Why It Will Matter in 2016

With no incumbent, the Democratic presidential primary will be wide open. A December poll by the Pew Research Center showed that 72 percent of Democrats think gun control is more important than protecting the right to own guns.
In a sense, it’s actually the second major issue of the primary. Gay marriage was the first. Last year, Biden became the highest-ranking politician to support same-sex marriage (inadvertently forcing Obama’s hand on the issue). Cuomo and O’Malley led efforts to legalize gay marriage in their states.
Another possible 2016 contender, Hillary Clinton, has not been a part of domestic policy discussions on gun control and same-sex marriage because of her job as Secretary of State.