Over at nationalreview.com, Senior Editor Ramesh Ponnuru (above right, sampling BBQ sauce at an open carry friendly Harris Teeter supermarket) offers his theory for why gun control advocates are failing to further disarm American civilians — even in the wake of high-profile firearms-related mass murders like the Mandalay Bay shooting and the Sutherland Springs slaughter. But first . . .
Mr. Ponnuru takes us on a magical mystery tour of all the other theories about gun control’s failure to motivate voters from the “great thinkers” foisting their fallacies on their unsuspecting readership. As follows:
CNN political analyst Chris Cillizza – “The central reason for congressional inaction on guns is that supporters of gun rights believe, baselessly, that liberals are out to grab their guns.”
New York Times commentator Charles Sykes – “The National Rifle Association had made the issue part of the culture wars.”
New York Times commentator David Brooks – “Deindustrialization had made people in rural and industrial parts of the country feel their way of life is under attack. If not for that, supporters would be able to see that gun regulations ‘don’t seriously impinge freedom’ — as ‘research’ (astonishingly) shows.”
Atlantic editor David Frum – “Racial and sexual anxieties lay at the root of pro-gun sentiment.”
Daily Beast writer Max Boot – “Political gridlock is killing us. Literally.”
Washington Post commentators E. J. Dionne Jr., Norm Ornstein and Thomas Mann – “Anti-democratic features of our government — including gerrymandering, the filibuster, and the overrepresentation of rural areas in the Senate — had thwarted the majority’s preferences.”
Slate writer Dahlia Lithwick – “The gun lobby had fooled the reasonable majority into thinking that a 2008 Supreme Court decision had declared all gun regulation unconstitutional, even though it had not.”
And here, then, is Mr. Ponnuru’s theory:
Over the last 60 years public confidence in government has declined. Most people do not believe that it would be sensible for the government to try to disarm the population, no doubt in part because of the immensity of the task and the resistance it would spark. (The number of guns in circulation in the U.S. is generally estimated to top 300 million.)
They favor a lot of less sweeping measures to regulate guns, but they do not attach great urgency to these measures because they doubt they would do much good.
That view, incidentally, lines up with the data about the effects of gun regulations, as even some of their advocates admit. Boot, for example, concedes that any positive effect of the assault-weapons ban on homicides was undetectable.
And because they have a rational basis for not seeing the gun regulations as important, these ambivalent voters let other issues determine which candidates to back. Pro-gun voters thus have political influence over gun policy disproportionate to their numbers.
In short, many if not most Americans believe that gun control doesn’t work. A belief that “lines up” with reality. Voters who see that reality clearly, and worry about the consequences of gun control’s imposition, fight its imposition vehemently. The ones who kinda know it pretty much ignore the whole thing. So now you know.