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Vulnerable lawmakers answer a noisy gun debate with silence

U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., speaks Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Las Vegas. (KSNV)

Despite a clamor for action in the wake of the Florida school shooting, a powerful group of vulnerable lawmakers - both Republicans and Democrats - have pointedly avoided the national conversation about guns.

They often choose strategic silence rather than get crosswise with the National Rifle Association's die-hard supporters on the right or the growing movement of passionate gun control advocates on the left.

Among them is the senior senator from Nevada, home to the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history just five months ago.

Sen. Dean Heller, a Republican facing a tough re-election fight, stayed away from a White House meeting on gun violence last week. And he has avoided the spotlight in the subsequent days as well, declining to address specifics about his positions on gun legislation.

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