Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: From Brady to Murphy : gun control polarization in the decades since the 103rd Congress
Author: Quinn, Genevieve
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2019
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Restricted access.
Access from Institution:
Over the course of twelve Congressional sessions and twenty plus years since the passage of landmark gun control legislation (the Brady Bill and the Assault weapons ban) during the 103rd Congress, (1993-1994) polarization on the gun control issue between the Democratic and Republican parties has increased significantly. Applying mixed qualitative methods, this case study aims to explain the shift from moderate levels during the 103rd to near complete partisan polarization on the issue by the 115th Congress (2017-2018). It will demonstrate that this shift was the culmination of the dissolution of opposition groups (consisting of members who crossed the party line in their gun issue voting) within each party, with each party following its own unique polarization trajectory, as disparate factors influenced their respective shifts. For the Republican party, who united on the issue over a decade before the Democratic party, the key variables impacting the fading of party support for gun control were the decline in salience of crime as a priority political issue in the early 2000s and the transition from the general to the primary electorate as the more salient voting bloc in regard to gun control. For the Democratic party, the key variables impacting the fading of party opposition to gun control were a loss of Southern and rural seats, coupled with gun control being re established as an electorally valuable issue for the party nationally in the years after the Sandy Hook shooting in late 2012. The thesis will contest the prevailing narrative that changes in party voting patterns must occur through replacement by demonstrating evidence of conversion- as numerous members of both parties shifted positions on gun control to vote the party line as electoral pressures and incentives influencing opposition group member voting changed. Furthermore, the thesis's findings bolster the utility of 'partisan asymmetry' as a lens through which to approach the study of partisan polarization in Congress.
Supervisor: Martin, Paul Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: American Politics