Hagan also likely would have the political freedom to vote against some of the more restrictive proposals, like an assault weapons ban, because it doesnt appear likely to pass, so her opposition couldnt be tied to its defeat.
But Marc Rotterman, a conservative Republican strategist in Raleigh, said that Hagan is walking a tightrope between what President Barack Obama and other Democrats in Washington want on gun control, and what conservatives in North Carolina want in terms of Second Amendment rights.
I would say the NRA (National Rifle Association), the folks who are law-abiding gun owners, are very well organized and tend to be single-issue voters, Rotterman said. At the end of the day, that one issue could swing a lot of votes to her opponent if not handled correctly from the NRAs or gun owners perspective.
Suzanne Rallis of Charlotte, whos organizing a chapter of a new group, One Million Moms for Gun Control, said the issue doesnt divide neatly along party lines.
I know Republicans who support it and Democrats who oppose it, she said.
Her group, formed after the Newtown massacre, will use phone calls and rallies to appeal to lawmakers to pass the assault weapons ban and other measures.
For Hagan, however, the bottom line is that its dangerous for a North Carolina senator to vote for any substantial gun control bill, said Thomas Eamon, an associate professor of political science at Eastern Carolina University.
I think whoever her Republican opponent is is likely to get the bulk of interest group support in regard to guns, he said. Its been a dangerous issue for Southern Democrats in the past.