Here's what made Republicans in Congress waver on blocking gun laws last year: expert
Jake Johnson, Common Dreams

Following the massacre at a private school in Nashville, Tennessee on Monday that killed six people, some are thinking back to last year's slaughter at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and how — uncharacteristically — that shooting actually led to the first federal legislation on guns in 30 years, with a bipartisan bill passing that boosted funding for gun trafficking enforcement, expanded background checks for younger gun buyers, and prevents unmarried domestic partners accused of abuse from obtaining guns, among several other reforms.

Dave Cullen, author of "Parkland," argued on MSNBC that this is no accident — there was a shift in pressure that forced Republicans to concede some gun reforms were needed.

"You know, the public has risen to the moment," said anchor Nicolle Wallace. "85 percent of the public supports a policy that has no chance of passing. 90 percent of the public supports bans on stocks, 95 percent on universal background checks, universal. Gun owners support storage. I think Shannon [Watts] and Gabby [Giffords], they've done their work and persuaded the public to do something. What is entrenched is the political lock that the NRA has on the Republican Party and Republicans, for better or worse, still win elections. How do you solve for that?"

"Totally," said Cullen. "We saw the strategy that will work last summer when we peeled off like — they needed like eight senators, Republican senators, and got 18 or something like that, including Mitch McConnell. We heard from Shelley Moore Capito in West Virginia and Joni Ernst [in Iowa], who ran that famous gun ad. The last people in the world — people from Texas! Who switched because they said the calls coming to their office were six-to-one or ten-to-one, Republicans in gun states were telling them, you have to do something, you have to do this. When Republicans' own voters are starting to turn on them, which is finally happening, that's, I think, the inflection point. So we got one. But that seemed impossible a year or two ago."

IN OTHER NEWS: Nashville school shooter identified as Audrey Hale

"The research I did on the polling before that, the main pollster for both Moms Demand Action and Giffords told me before that, she picked up something in the polling last previous year or two, was that people were starting to see Congress as the bad guys," said Cullen. "People ... felt like it's the NRA stopping it, the NRA is the bad guy doing this. They started feeling like, well the NRA isn't in Congress. It's also our people in Congress. That's a recent change, and that's why somebody like Shelley Moore Capito ... [who] never would have voted for something like this, did because she came back and said, wow, the political winds have shifted. Mitch McConnell went to his caucus after they did a poll to show support for it and said, even among gun owners, it's overwhelming. He warned them, we're going to lose the suburbs if we don't start doing something on guns, and then personally voted for it. That was unthinkable."

"So that's the road to victory, is continuing to peel off those people," added Cullen. "And frankly, we need Republican voters, we need conservative voters in gun states, they are the key to this, to put the most pressure on their senators and congresspeople."

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Dave Cullen explains how Republicans were forced to act on guns in