Gun rights were the number one issue in Bush’s victory over Gore in 2000
1. Gun control views handed Gore a loss in three key Democratic states (The Baltimore Sun):
“Had Al Gore carried Bill Clinton’s home state [Arkansas], his own home state [Tennessee] or what arguably has been the most reliable Democratic state in the country [West Virginia], he’d had been president. But Mr. Gore lost all three. Professionals in both parties think his position on gun control was the reason why.”(1)
2. Democratic governors faulted Gore for pushing gun control (The Christian Science Monitor):
“A group of Southern Democratic governors recently told reporters that they believed the gun-control issue had hurt Gore in their region [in November of 2000]. ‘We like to hunt; we like to fish—and I think there was a perception in the last general election … that [Gore] was out of step with what most of us thought about that issue,’ said Gov. Roy Barnes (D) of Georgia.”(2)
3. Gore officials lament how there is little voter “intensity” for gun control:
- The New Republic Online: Democratic party strategists speak of an “intensity gap.” “Guns are a motivating issue for a sizable number of voters on the right, but that’s not matched elsewhere on the [left],” laments Gore spokesman Doug Hattaway.(3)
- USA Today: “We lost a number of voters who on almost every other issue realized they’d be better off with Al Gore,” Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, Gore’s running mate, says of the gun issue. “They were anxious … about what would happen if Al was elected. This one matters a lot to people who otherwise want to vote for us.”(4)
(1) Jack Kelly, “Moms Make Too Much of Guns,” The Baltimore Sun (May 22, 2001).
(2) Liz Marlantes, “Democrats tone down gun-control stance: After years of pushing restrictions, they’re on a new quest to capture southern votes,” The Christian Science Monitor (May 10, 2002).
(3) Noam Scheiber, “The Dems abandon gun control: Gun shy,” The New Republic Online (January 24, 2001).
(4) Susan Page, “Democrats sing new tune on gun control,” USA Today (August 13, 2001).