For years, the opinion polls on gun control have been trending in favor of gun rights. People have been turning away from the idea that gun control is the quick fix to all of America’s woes, and toward the idea that guns might actually be helping instead of hurting. In the wake of the Newtown shooting, those numbers dipped dramatically. No surprise there. But just as dramatic has been the quick correction back to the pre-Newtown status quo, and a recent Pew poll shows some other interesting trends . . .
First and foremost, the lead picture says it all. Seven months after Newtown, and we’re back to “normal.” One of the worst gun-related events in American history resulted in some knee-jerk state level changes. But on the federal level gun control has been brought to a screeching halt. And even those states in which stricter gun control has been enacted are starting to see some of the new laws being walked back or a concerted effort to repeal them.
The reason for the overall success that gun rights groups have seen is simply that gun control advocates just don’t care. While NRA members gladly open their wallets every time there’s a hint of new restrictions in the works, those on the other side just aren’t as motivated. Fully one quarter of gun rights folks have donated money to the cause, compared to a measly 6% of anti-gunners. They’ll say they want more gun control in an opinion poll, but they aren’t motivated enough to see that it actually happens.
The most interesting result of the poll is that, in general, the stereotypes we assign to Republicans and Democrats hold true. Most Dems believe that reducing gun ownership will lower the murder rate, and don’t particularly give a crap about reducing the ability of people to protect themselves. They also don’t buy the “slippery slope” argument, at least as applied to guns.
Also of note: gun ownership is on the rise. According to the Pew poll, over 40% of Americans own a gun. The actual number is bound to be much higher (seriously, would you tell a random stranger who calls your house that you own firearms?) but even at this reported level it’s hard to ignore gun ownership and claim that it’s a dying fad, as some gun control advocates are wont to do.