Second Amendment

Obama Risks Backlash with Gun Control Crusade

He's energizing gun rights supporters and weakening Democrats in competitive seats

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WASHINGTON—"You've got to send the right people to Washington" to deal with gun control, President Barack Obama insists. In fact, the people voters send to Washington next year could prove to be Obama's nightmare.

Obama's effort to pressure senators to back gun control could very well cost several Democrats their Senate seats. Promoting gun control in conservative states could mobilize gun rights supporters. And blasting Democrats who back gun rights could sour liberals on those senators, keeping left-leaning voters home and helping elect Republicans.

Obama and Democrats face a huge dilemma. Do they rail against gun control, hoping to push opponents out of office? Or do they take a cold look at political reality and realize they may be jeopardizing Democratic gun rights advocates whose Senate votes they badly need on other issues?