“For the first time in decades, Republicans are losing on social issues — they’re losing on same-sex marriage, they’re losing on contraception, and now they could lose on guns because their position is so intractable,” said Kessler. “Except for a vocal minority, people know and expect that something can be done.”

“It’s not that Democrats could do it and make some political gains,” added Mike Lux, founder of the consulting firm Progressive Strategies, and a former aide to President Bill Clinton. “It’s that they have to do it. It’s not only the base, it’s now the American people. They better damn well do it, or people will say what on earth is going on.”…

Republicans, under this theory, are caught in a trap between the powerful National Rifle Association’s uncompromising demands, crucial to primarily politics, and the more moderate view of the general electorate.

“Republicans aren’t going to go against the NRA,” said Lux. “They will absolutely block it, and it’s going to look very bad for them, but their politics are such that they are far more worried about a primary from the right than they are at looking unreasonable to the general public.”