My friend Glenn Reynolds has an interesting theory about the President's gun control pivot:
So if the issue is a loser for Obama and the Democrats, why make a big deal about it? Well, the answer is, that when we’re talking about guns, a bad issue for Obama, we’re not talking about other things that pose worse issues for Obama. And the list of those is long.
In Syria, Putin is making Obama look weak, ordering U.S. planes out of the sky, bombing CIA-supported rebels, and allying with Iranian troops. Obama has no real response, leading to The Economist headline, "Putin Dares, Obama Dithers.”
Meanwhile, despite Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize, the 14-year-old war in Afghanistan goes on, with U.S. forces apparently bombing a civilian hospital run by Doctors Without Borders by mistake, killing many.
In Ukraine, Russia is deploying new, more advanced missiles. Putin is also building a major base near the Ukraine-Russia border.
It's never a winning issue, in fact it's been said that Clinton lost congress during the 90s in part because of his focus on gun control during the conservative revolution. However, focusing on gun control is easier than focusing on his bombing of a hospital or ceding power to Putin in Syria.