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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Democrats in swing seats are more comfortable supporting new gun restrictions than they were just a few years ago, but most still aren't on board with Beto O'Rourke's "hell, yeah" stance on confiscating assault weapons.

Why it matters: Some vulnerable Democrats up for reelection next year are nervous that too much attention is being paid to mandatory gun buyback programs — thanks to Beto — ahead of 2020.

  • Sens. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.), and Reps. Cindy Axne (Iowa-3), Susie Lee (Nev.-3) and Angie Craig (Minn.-2), all told Axios they don't support mandatory buybacks for assault rifles.
  • Some 2020 presidential candidates also refuse to go as far as Beto: Andrew Yang and Sen. Amy Klobuchar support voluntary buyback programs, and the plan by Sen. Elizabeth Warren includes a mandatory assault weapon registration or buyback.
  • Yes, but: Joe Biden and Sens. Kamala Harris and Cory Booker support mandatory assault weapon buyback programs.

Our thought bubble: Regardless of the divide within the party, O'Rourke has successfully shifted the debate so that expanded background checks or an assault weapons ban look more modest by comparison.

The big picture: Democrats' divisions on buybacks reflect America's divisions. Just over half of Americans polled by Monmouth University said they somewhat or strongly opposed the idea of an assaults weapons buyback program

Go deeper

White House unveils landmark reports on climate links to security, migration

Photo Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The Biden administration on Thursday released a sweeping set of assessments on how to view threats that climate change poses to national security and its role in fueling migration.

Why it matters: One of the key products, a formal National Intelligence Estimate on climate change, marks the first time all 18 elements of the U.S. intelligence community have released a consensus report on the topic.

Scoop: Garland defends DOJ's handling of Jan. 6 probe

Attorney General Merrick Garland. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Attorney General Merrick Garland will tell the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday that federal prosecutors "are doing exactly what they are expected to do" in seeking accountability for the "intolerable assault" on the Capitol on Jan. 6, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Allies of former President Trump, including Republican congressmen, have criticized the department's treatment rioters charged with crimes, and sought to recast the insurrection as a righteous protest. Garland's testimony with be his first appearance before the panel.

Updated 54 mins ago - World

Police charge man with murder of British MP David Amess

Police outside Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, England, on Oct. 15. Photo: John Keeble/Getty Images

Police said Thursday that Ali Harbi Ali, a 25-year-old British man, has been charged with the murder of David Amess, a Conservative Party lawmaker in the U.K.

The big picture: Last week, the Metropolitan Police declared the fatal stabbing a terrorist incident, saying that they had found "a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism."