Will guns be an issue in midterms? You can bet on it in these districts

Will guns be an issue in midterms? You can bet on it in these districts
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After the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., many political pundits speculated that the midterm election cycle would be dominated by the issue of guns. They expected students and activists to swarm districts, shaming Congress into acting, if not for moral reasons then for the overriding rationale of political survival.

We’ll know soon. Within the next few weeks, school will be out for most of the country. College and high school commencements will have concluded. Summer vacation will be in full swing, but there’ll be a new political science test for student activists. Will their predicted political energy surge or dissipate? Will it be applied with pinpoint precision or will it be scattered and, therefore, diluted? I’m betting on the students to pass these tests. But here’s a study guide of five districts where their energy matters the most this summer.

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Virginia, 10th District — In the suburbs and exurbs of Washington, Republican Rep. Barbara ComstockBarbara Jean ComstockGOP lawmaker introduces bill to stop revolving door Ex-lawmakers face new scrutiny over lobbying Trump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign MORE has regularly voted against gun safety laws and received an “A” rating from the NRA. Six Democrats are running in a June 12 primary, all unified in their support for common-sense policies on guns, including background checks. If a strong Democratic candidate emerges, this will be one of most flippable districts in the country, with a vivid contrast in gun safety issues.

Minnesota, 2nd District — Angie Craig, a former health-care employee and newspaper reporter, is running in the Twin Cities metropolitan area against Republican incumbent Rep. Jason LewisJason Mark LewisMLB donated to GOP lawmaker who made controversial comments about women, minorities Minnesota New Members 2019 Overnight Health Care — Presented by The Partnership for Safe Medicines — Medicaid expansion gets extra boost from governors' races | Utah's expansion to begin April 1 | GOP lawmaker blames McCain for Dems winning House MORE, who has an “A” rating from the NRA. Craig has an “F” rating from the NRA and supports a ban on military-style, semi-automatic weapons as well as “bump stocks” and other attachments that increase the lethality of certain firearms.

Colorado, 6th District — Near Denver, Jason Crow is a former Army Ranger who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is now an attorney and veterans advocate who’s running against Republican Rep. Mike CoffmanMichael (Mike) Howard CoffmanTrump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Gardner gets latest Democratic challenge from former state senator Gardner, Portman endorse Trump for 2020 MORE, who has an “A” rating from the NRA. Crow has promised to support expanded background checks, end the gun show loophole, prevent sales to persons on the “no fly, no buy” list as well as domestic abusers and the mentally ill, ban military-style weapons, and other common-sense ideas.

Washington, 5th District — Lisa Brown, who was given a “D” rating by the NRA during her final term as the majority leader in the Washington state senate, is facing Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris RodgersHillicon Valley: Republicans demand answers from mobile carriers on data practices | Top carriers to stop selling location data | DOJ probing Huawei | T-Mobile execs stayed at Trump hotel as merger awaited approval House Republicans question mobile carriers on data practices Washington governor announces killer whale recovery plan MORE, who has an “A” rating from the NRA, in eastern Washington. Brown has voted for gun safety in the state legislature and, if elected to Congress, promises to support a strengthened background check system and allow the Centers for Disease Control to study gun violence as a public health issue.

New York, 19th District — In Hudson Valley, a June 26 primary will select a Democrat to oppose Rep. John FasoJohn James FasoGOP House super PAC targets two freshman Dems with new ads Tax law failed to save GOP majority New York New Members 2019 MORE, another Republican incumbent with an “A” rating from the NRA. All of the leading Democrats have strong stances against the gun lobby. Pat Ryan is a combat veteran who makes a compelling case that weapons of war should be used in, well, war. (Full disclosure: I’ve contributed to Ryan.) Other Democratic candidates — Jeff Beals, David Clegg, Erin Collier, Antonio Delgado, Brian Flynn and Gareth Rhodes — also have strong positions favoring gun safety. This is one race in New York where a gun lobby loyalist can be replaced by someone who will stand up to the gun lobby.

Opponents of stronger background checks and other sensible measures are betting on our children to fail. They’re hoping they go to the beach instead of a phone bank, and sit around streaming instead of knocking on doors. If these opponents are right, if faithful NRA incumbents are reelected in competitive districts even after the outrage of Parkland and Santa Fe, Texas, and whatever tragedy comes next, even in the most competitive midterm environment in a decade, then don’t expect change anytime soon. If not now, probably never, which means there’s work to be done this summer vacation.

Steve IsraelSteven (Steve) J. IsraelThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine - Will there be any last-minute shutdown drama? The unlikely legislative duo that joined together on immigration A tale of two Trumps MORE represented New York in Congress for 16 years. He served as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee from 2011 to 2015. He is the author of the new novel “Big Guns,” a satire of the gun lobby. You can follow him on Twitter @RepSteveIsrael.