Mass Shootings Reinforce Individuals’ Previously-Held Opinions on Guns

gun control mass shooting

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His analysis of why federal gun control laws aren’t enacted after mass shootings is less interesting that his prescription for changing that in the future (at the link).

I think it is natural to expect when there is a tragic mass shooting event that opinion (may) become decisively more supportive of gun control legislation. But what we actually see is, if anything, rigidity.

In our study, we tested whether people living near mass shooting events were likely to shift their views. What we found is that Democrats became even more supportive of stricter gun control legislation, while Republicans became even more opposed to it. I think the reason for this is that each tragic mass shooting brings an intense debate about gun control, and partisans mostly follow the lead of what the politicians from their own party are saying about the issue.

– Tufts professor Brian Schaffner in Why mass shootings don’t lead to gun control

comments

  1. avatar Klaus Von Schmitto says:

    I’m not the editor Nazi but when the first sentence is completely jacked up, it’s time to have another cup of coffee.

    “…..of why we don’t federal gun control laws aren’t enacted after mass shootings…….”

    1. avatar Binder says:

      Looks like TAG is just removed the edit button for the authors as well as the commentators.

      1. avatar doesky2 says:

        You do know that clicking the first couple radio buttons at the bottom of your post allows you to post-edit right?

        Yeah I know, it’s stupid, but it is what it is.

    2. avatar Victoria Illinois says:

      Agree. I read it a few times thinking I read it wrong. Writers don’t proof read, or don’t know how. I’ve even seen “Me and him…….” in newspapers.

    3. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      I had the same problem. That first sentence should read as follows:

      “His analysis of why we don’t federal gun control laws aren’t enacted after mass shootings …”

    4. avatar possum says:

      I could page make it of sense was just dumb?

  2. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    “I think the reason for this is that each tragic mass shooting brings an intense debate about gun control, and partisans mostly follow the lead of what the politicians from their own party are saying about the issue.”

    In my case he would be Wrong,I don’t give a squat what any politician of any party says about the 2 nd. amendment.
    One only has to consult the Constitution and Bill of Rights,politicians that say or do otherwise are trying to persuade the People into the slavery of tyranny

    1. avatar GunnyGene says:

      “Did you really think we want those laws observed?” said Dr. Ferris. “We want them to be broken. You’d better get it straight that it’s not a bunch of boy scouts you’re up against… We’re after power and we mean it… There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Reardon, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.”
      Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, 1957

      1. avatar Michael says:

        History, remember it or repeat it…come the rising…-30-

    2. avatar MyName says:

      The quoted statement belies a fundamental misunderstanding of a notable portion of the body politic – that being the idea that politicians are somehow our betters and are supposed to inform and govern us.

      I, like you, don’t care what a politician “is saying about the issue”. That politicians job is to listen to what I am saying about the issue and then communicate that information to other politicians. I for one am weary of politicians telling me what they think about nearly any issue – I don’t care what they think, I want them to represent what I think. If more voters viewed their various representatives more like hired spokesmen and less like noblemen, we’d be a lot better off.

      1. avatar Michael says:

        They are “better” at working THEIR system. “In a closed society where everyone is guilty, the only crime is getting caught”…come the Rising…-30-

  3. avatar Shire-man says:

    I can tell you exactly the first thought in my mind when something newsworthy happens: “what sort of bullshit are the politicians gonna pull this time?”

    Maybe my first thoughts would be for the victims or their families if I, as a gun owner, wasn’t beaten, berated and stigmatized every time some lunatic acted out but since I am my first thoughts are of myself and my second thoughts are of the assholes who are going to beat, berate and stigmatize me.

    I have anti acquaintances and their first thought is often to berate me and even ask me “how could YOU let this continue to happen?” That always feels good.

    1. avatar Shire-man says:

      what the politicians from their own party are saying about the issue.

      Yeah, right. If I were doing that I’d have capitulated long ago given how the RINO’s and NRA constantly support gun control.

    2. avatar GS650G says:

      The reason the media plays up events so hard and for so long is because they know the politicians will do “something” as a result. That’s why the media is called the fourth branch of government

      1. avatar MyName says:

        The media really do believe that we would be lost and helpless if they were not there to tell us how to think.

        1. avatar Southern Cross says:

          I remember a skit on a comedy show where they were parodying a current affairs show.

          KNOCK

          KNOCK

          KNOCK

          “OPEN UP IN THE NAME OF THE MEDIA!!!”

  4. avatar Victoria Illinois says:

    Too bad every news story has an agenda. Proof is in the adjectives used. Feelings over facts. Every shooting is blamed on us. They don’t do that to other groups. The guys blowing up stuff aren’t condemned as a group.

  5. avatar Bob Watson says:

    Oh goody, more words of wisdom/gibberish from another slack jawed, cross eyed, drooling moron. Professor brain damage really believes that the citizens of this nation do not know what to think about anything, until they are instructed by their “political leaders”.

  6. avatar A Deplorable says:

    I have to wonder how many dollars were given this Tufts Professor to do a study where he concluded that people chronically use events to reinforce what they already believe… the “See? I TOLD you so…” syndrome. Apparently, he also “discovered” that today’s American public is so ideologically divided that they only accept and parrot whatever the Politician of their choice says because it’s easier than forming an individual opinion and assures your membership in some “group”. This tribal mentality is/has been a major impediment to Human intellectual progress for the past 30,00 to 200,00 years {depending on who you ask and what Homo Genus variants you include in the number}.

    Professor Schaffner owes whoever funded his “study” a refund. Sources tell me that in his next “study” he will find that “Water is wet”.

  7. avatar barnbwt says:

    Each tragedy is seen by as another missed opportunity, making it all the more tragic. The difference between the gun and anti gun sets is, as always, that we actually know what the hell we’re talking about and propose actually allowing the opportunity for the shooter targets to defend themselves. The antis are, at best, acting on instinct in pursuit of insane & impossible goals that cost lives, and at worst, callously leading sheep to the slaughter for pure political gain.

    Of course, we pro gun set have plenty of our own that are perfectly happy doing nothing but making pro gun noises, while the status quo disarmament continues to see innocents killed.

  8. avatar enuf says:

    ” ….. partisans mostly follow the lead of what the politicians from their own party are saying about the issue”

    Nope. I’m an independent like most voters. Most voters are someplace between the two big parties and do not consider themselves members of or loyal to either.

    All human violence has a root cause in the human that does it. Mental illness. Criminal lifestyle. Drug or alcohol abuse and addiction. Religious or political extremism, ending in terrorism to accomplish some wider goal. The weapon they use is incidental to all that, not a cause of any of it.

    When I hear of another mass shooting I wait to hear the details on the shooter. Typically it is a person with a history of mental illness who was known about. Someone for whom help was sought, but could not be found. Or someone for whom others made warnings, which went unheeded. I see failures in the systems, the laws, the funding, the infrastructure to deal with these violence prone defectives.

    Somewhere around a hundred million gun owners and pushing 400 million guns and many billion rounds of ammunition in this country. Were guns the cause of violence we’d have big flat bed trucks roaming the streets picking up the bodies.

    That’s the reality check. The glaring fact that guns increased in numbers massively during the last two or three decades while all forms of violence dropped massively. We are living in a very safe society compared to where we were only a generation ago, with more than double the guns.

    The anti-gun math just does not add up. Which is only one reason I’m pro-gun.

    PS: There is an edit button. But by the time I notice a typo of mine, the 5 minute countdown for the edit button to turn off will expire. Edit button should not time-out on your own posts, not ever. Doesn’t time out in other forums I post in!

    Oh and sometimes trying to edit causes the post to be considered SPAM, and it gets auto-deleted. So, again, broken Edit button!

  9. avatar former water walker says:

    I’ve never “changed my mind” about mass shootings. Happy Hitler’s 130th birthday. Happy 20th anniversary for Columbine. Where no AR’s or standard capacity magazines were used. Happy Chiraq mass shooting-where it’s barely a blip on yer TV screen. Mass shootings bad-armed law abiding citizen’s good. As well as cops who aren’t COWARDS…

  10. avatar NORDNEG says:

    I’ll tell you the Truth About Guns,,,
    Don’t try & take mine…🔫

  11. avatar Ragnar says:

    “…and partisans mostly follow the lead of what the politicians from their own party are saying about the issue.”

    Shouldn’t that be the other way around? It should be the politicians following the lead of the people.

  12. avatar Timothy Toroian says:

    The illogical part of the notion is that the Democrats continue to espouse gun control in such instances rather than considering the idea that the way to stop a mass shooting is to shoot the shooter. And of course, we never hear of mass shootings in establishments that have “Guns Welcome” signage, do we?

  13. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    The explanation is exceedingly simple:

    Conservatives tend to operate on facts, data, and reasoning. Therefore, every additional spree killer illustrates the utter and complete failure of the “gun control” strategy. Since the facts show that the “gun control” strategy does not work, conservatives become more motivated to abandon the “gun control” strategy and seek something which data and experience shows us will actually work.

    Progressives tend to operate on feelings, “virtue” (as they define it), and fantasy. Since every additional spree killer exacerbates previous festering emotional wounds, progressives therefore become more motivated to alleviate that emotional pain, thus doubling down on the “virtue” of banning firearms, and actually believing that it will work this time (fantasy). The fact that “gun control” bans always fail and violate our right to self-defense is irrelevant because all that matters to progressives is that “gun control” bans feel good and are the “right thing to do” (in their minds).

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      This dispute over firearm ownership and possession will never be calmly resolved with a “conversation” because one side operates on facts and reasoning and the other side operates on emotion and fantasy. Rather, whoever has the greatest resolve and the means to force their position will prevail. It is no different than a woman facing-off against a rapist. A women will never be able to stop a rapist with a calm “conversation”. The only possible outcomes:
      (1) The woman submits and the rapist rapes her.
      (2) The women resists, the rapist overpowers her, and then rapes her.
      (3) The women inflicts so much pain/damage to the rapist that the rapist cannot complete his rape.

      Progressives want what they want which involves forcibly stripping us of our belongings (firearms) and lives (self-defense). There can only be three possible outcomes:
      (1) We submit and let progressives take our belongings and lives.
      (2) We resist and fail — and progressives take our belongings and lives.
      (3) We resist and prevail, keeping our belongings and lives.

      What is it going to be people?

    2. avatar enuf says:

      ” ….. Conservatives tend to operate on facts, data, and reasoning.”

      No, no they do not. I mean not always. No politically partisan person does that all the time on every issue. Most people who pick a political side will buy into the bullshit of their side, the crap their “leaders” use to get out the vote. Whether a person is signed up to a party or not, believing one side is that one that “thinks” is dangerous and wrong.

      True of conservatives and liberals both.

    3. avatar Patrick says:

      I would argue that everyone on both sides argues with some rationality, driven by emotions.
      Without emotions, no one would be motivated to argue anything, and emotions are important for humans to have.
      Without rationality, a man is wrong. Both sides use rationality, but we could assume that the man who does so with fewer flaws and more exhaustively may be correct.

      The disarmament crowd uses this reasoning: Guns are tools that are used to murder people. Murdering people is less moral than taking someone’s gun. We should take his gun to make fewer murders.

      The anti-disarmament crowd uses reasoning that is slightly to very much more involved to reach the conclusion that there would not be fewer murders among previously involved parties, and there would be additional “murders” in the enacting of this action. (This crowd also compares the moral value of indirectly trying to reduce murders by other people, and directly dehumanizing people by force-ably disarming them.)

      The problem isn’t that the disarmament crowd “operates on emotions”, as everyone should feel the desire to take action when learning of the deaths of children. Disarmament laws make the politically involved feel important and useful, as if they are actually saving lives of children.
      At the same time, they don’t have to engage in the rational feelings that accompany non-disarmament crowd, such as a feeling that no law will help (and it won’t), that you may feel terrible and be traumatized if you ever have to shoot in self defense (and you might). Maybe they do “operate on emotion”, if we mean that they make flawed choices based on the fact that they’re avoiding negative emotions now, even if it means causing terror the future.

  14. avatar NH Guy says:

    From the linked article:

    “What can U.S. advocacy groups and policymakers seeking tightened gun control learn from those experiences and your research?

    For those interested in passing serious gun control legislation, I think there are a couple of lessons. First, I think focusing on passing laws at the state level, particularly in states where the political climate is more favorable, is a good approach. I believe you saw movement like this after the Parkland shooting in particular.

    Second, I think gun control advocates especially need to think about a long-term strategy for generating fundamental change in public opinion on this issue, rather than hoping to see opinion shift quickly in reaction to tragic events. This probably means trying to influence the views of young Americans who are just coming into the electorate, but who could serve as a strong basis of support for gun control legislation for many years to come.

    It may also mean trying to influence views via non-political avenues—for example, through narratives on television shows, movies, and so on. I suspect that there are lessons to be learned from gay rights activists who have had tremendous success in moving public opinion in the past few decades.

    Which groups might gun control advocates target to generate more support for their cause?

    One thing that is interesting in the data I’ve looked at is that independents often hold views that are closer to Republicans than to Democrats when it comes to gun control. Since independents should be less tied to following their party on this issue, that might be one place where minds can be changed.

    There is also a pretty large gender gap in attitudes toward gun control among Republicans and independents. In fact, in our most recent survey, over half of Republican women support banning assault rifles compared to only about 30 percent of Republican men. Thus, gun control advocates are quite right to be appealing especially to women on this issue. ”

    People had better pay close attention because this is the roadmap that is being used against us right now. We tend to believe the Constitution is our shield and defense against government tyranny, but the Constitution is only effective when the People buy into it. We “gunnies” are no different than other interest groups in that we tend to broadly agree with one another on what the Constitution means and posting on sites like this tends to reinforce our views. But, huge numbers of voting citizens don’t know a thing about why the Founders worded the Constitution the way they did and what were the philosophical concepts that drove their decisions. Another huge group of people thinks the Constitution means something entirely different than we do.

    Eric Holder stated pretty clearly that he believes the way to get gun control in this country is to marginalize gun owners, gun ownership, and gun manufacturers in the same way they did the tobacco industry. The gun control crowd is playing the long game. Our problem is that they control all the levers – media, judiciary, legislatures – and we’re constantly playing defense. As time goes on, more and more voters will grow up having been indoctrinated by the progressive “education” system, the tv shows they watch, and the “news” they see.

    Another matter of concern is the gun control crowd’s willingness to discuss brute force solutions to achieve their goals – weaponizing banks and insurance companies, for example – and openly advocating for gun confiscation and criminalization.

  15. avatar possum, destroyer of arachnids says:

    By this logic. Since more die in auto accidents than by gunshot brakes should be banned. There will always be cars and there will always be terrorist

    1. avatar Geoff PR, Destroyer of functional brain cells says:

      “possum, destroyer of arachnids”

      Hey, Strych!

      The ‘Marsupial One’ is calling your ass out!

      You’ve been having nightmares about that hairy-ass monster spider dragging off that baby possum for lunch, haven’t you, Possum? 😉

  16. avatar rt66paul says:

    Republican vs Democrat is not only about gun rights. It is not a real issue between the parties, it is a fake issue. While I do not go along with all Republican viewpoints, I do support all gun rights, even more so than most Republicans. The Republicans I know mostly are Fudds or the “guns for me, not for thee” bunch.
    I yearn for the days that the working class had some political pull. Working class issues include anyone who works for wages or salary, especially under $150k.
    Republicans pander to those of us who do not support the socialist Dems of late 20th or early 21st century. It is time for a party that does support the people that build America, not those that tear it down.

  17. avatar Fudds McKenzie says:

    Well, I’m Fudds McKenzie, the Original Party Fudd, what are they paying?

    1. avatar Fudds McKenzie says:

      oops, scuse me, thought I was repplying to the one about Giffords looking for fudds. Feel free to delete

  18. avatar Crabbyoldguy says:

    Complete ignorance. It’s like calling for a stop light only after a certain number of fatalities. There should be no correlation between mass shootings and existing laws. Design it right up front

    That means promote personal responsibility and teach people how to achieve success rather than to bend to the will of some master.

    Remember, this is by design. None of us voted to create this system of government. And we only get to vote for a couple of percent of the chosen few.

  19. avatar Chip in Florida says:

    “…mostly follow the lead of what the politicians ”

    Well there is the problem right there! I don’t know about y’all but I don’t look to my politics for guidance or direction. I expect them to look to me for that.

  20. avatar Mack The Knife says:

    Bullshit! After Parkland, Little Marko Rubio, Governor Rick Scott and the entire republican legislature in Florida, the “majority” all became anti gunners in a single blink of the eye. Constituents be damned!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. avatar Craig in IA says:

    “after each mass shooting, rather than moving toward consensus, public opinion became more polarized, with no net movement toward or away from stricter gun regulations. Democrats were more likely to support greater gun control, while Republicans were inclined to support fewer regulations.” (from the linked article)

    The entire premise is that Americans (we, the unwashed on the west side of the pond) are all either Republicans or democrats. No, many Americans trend one way or the other but in actual, party membership reality, most are neither. The real battle is among those who, like Trump, I assume, want to see this great nation continue along the lines of its inception v those progressives and people who believe it should be in a constant state of flux, always moving towards some unstated Nirvana out there in the distant future. (For a fun exercise, ask a stated progressive exactly what they are progressing to.)

    I believe the majority of Americans would rather “stay” here where we are, than change into the alternatives. It would seem that a large number of invaders from other Krapistan nations seek similar outcomes.

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