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Mother Jones is no friend of the right to keep and bear arms. This is exemplified by their willingness to embrace studies that twist data to endorse a favored political solution, and their investigative series on lead and crime which always seemed to veer a bit too close to confirmation bias, since it flattered the writers’ preconceived notions in favor of environmentalism and against guns. That’s why I was surprised when veteran MoJo writer Kevin Drum flatly admitted something that we’ve been aware of for years: there just isn’t a lot of support for the gun control side in the United States . . .

Drum’s piece is in response to an article by David Atkins at Slate, in which Atkins issues the de rigeur bleats about the political power of the NRA that has become part of the catechism of the left on issues related to firearms. In his piece, Atkins argues that “[t]he vast majority of Americans support commonsense [sic] gun laws.”

But Drum called out Atkins:

I’m not sure Atkins has this right. The problem is in the second bolded sentence: “The vast majority of Americans support commonsense gun laws.” There’s some truth to this, but there’s also a big pitfall here, and it’s one that liberals are especially vulnerable to. I routinely read lefties who quote polls to show that the country agrees with us on pretty much everything…. But this is a bad misreading of what polls can tell us. There are (at least) two related problems here:

Most polls don’t tell us how deeply people feel. Sure, lots of American think that universal background checks are a good idea, but they don’t really care that much. In a recent Gallup poll of most important problems, gun control ranked 22nd, with only 2 percent rating it their most important issue. Needless to say, though, gun owners are opposed to background checks, and they care a lot.

Most polls don’t tell us about the tradeoffs people are willing to make. In the abstract, sure, maybe a majority of Americans think we should make it harder to buy guns. But if there’s a real-world price to pay how willing are they to pay it? A few months ago, a Pew poll that pitted gun control against gun rights found that gun rights won by 52-46 percent.
There are lots of polls, and some of them probably show a greater intensity among those who support gun control. A lot depends on question wording. But that’s sort of my point: If you get substantially different responses because of small changes in question wording or depending on which precise issues you ask about (background checks vs. assault weapons, gun locks vs. large-capacity magazines) that’s a sign of low intensity….

Until voters who favor gun control feel as strongly as those who oppose it, all the field work in the world won’t do any good.

The truth that the left doesn’t want to admit to itself is that the reason that gun rights has been a winner for so long on the state and national level is manifestly because people support it. A large (and growing) chunk of the population want to have guns, and most of the those who don’t have simply taken a ‘live and let live’ attitude toward the ones who do.

Many on the left have themselves convinced that spending a lot of money equates to political victories, so they simply assume that gun manufacturers pay the NRA for lobbying, which results in political success. Bernie Sanders’ latest fundraising haul notwithstanding, that’s how the left thinks all politics works.

But that that’s not how support for gun rights works. A lot of people in this country actually want to own guns for their own reasons. They weren’t brainwashed by a billionaire-funded AstroTurf effort or by the latest GLOCK advertisement starring R. Lee Ermey to go out and buy one. A lot of people who don’t own guns have friends and family members who own guns who do.

Do the interests of the gun industry and gun rights lobbyists align? You’re darn right they do. But their interests also align with over 100 million Americans – if not more. Consider that, thanks to age restrictions on purchasing, the vast majority of these people are of voting age, and thanks to the earnest efforts of gun control extremists, that is an incredibly powerful base that has to be reckoned with.

George Orwell famously wrote that “To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.” Kevin Drum actually managed to see, however slightly, what’s staring him in the face here. I’d like to offer my wishes for a thorough and speedy enlightenment to the rest of his compadres in the gun control crowd, too.


DISCLAIMER: The above is an opinion piece; it is not legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship in any sense. If you need legal advice in any matter, you are strongly urged to hire and consult your own counsel. This post is entirely my own, and does not represent the positions, opinions, or strategies of my firm or clients.

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  1. Drum will soon feel the wrath his fellow travelers always visit upon apostates. He seems to have forgotten the Party of Tolerance and Inclusion does not brook deviation from dicta gladly.

  2. It’s the Constitution, stupid! The 2A symbolizes that all power stems from the people governed. There’s an inevitable struggle between the government and the governed. When the government wins, we have tyranny.

    • +


      There are prescribed methods for Amendment and there is not now, NOR HAS THERE EVER BEEN, on a-hole in existence with the authority (the pull, the power, the suck) to rate changing it unilaterally.


      If you want to chuck this little bit of the Constitution, then I may just want to chuck the rest. Either way, your authority to amend the Constitution by definition sunsets before my right to stop you.

      • Your comment highlights why this nation isn’t dead yet. It’s because so many Americans, despite all the distractions of modern life, still care deeply enough to get that worked up about liberty. Long may that be true.

  3. I don’t care to spend too much time analyzing two progtards like Drum and Atkins. Let them endlessly navel-gaze about why their righteous moralizing and agitprop doesnt work. They have their heads up their A$$es so far their hearts are beating their brains out, and I have no interest in helping them pull them out, for that would only help the Left.

    The simple fact is left-wing ideas dont work- and what the Left has rebranded as Progressivism didnt work in the Soviet Union of the captive slave states of Eastern Europe under their dominion, didnt work in Cambodia, Cuba, Venezuela, and is falling apart now in China, and in the EU. History repeats and those who wont learn the lessons are doomed to repeat them, including that freedom loving and self-actualizing, independent thinking human beings refuse to be brain-washed.

    That is why the progressive Narrative is failing. Period. Full stop.
    That is why gun control is failing. The majority of Americans are waking up and realizing that Obama lies, and HRC lies, and Bloomberg lies, and the reason is people control. Not gun control.

    Bernie Sanders and Trump are waking up a lot of angry people who havent quite articulated but understand very well what they are saying- that the Elite Party in DC and NY and SF doesnt really care what the Constitution says- they only care about gaining and keeping power, never mind the little people and hicks in flyover country. Remember the “bitterly clinging to guns and religion” quote by Obama in a private fund-raiser in SF in the 2008 election?

    Has ANYTHING changed on the Left, starting with the narcissistic Gun Grabber In Chief, top down?

    Its all maskirovka – read this article by Glenn Reynolds, AKA Instapundit-

    • “The simple fact is left-wing ideas dont work- ”

      According to them, they’re just not doing it right…

      But don’t worry! This time, they’ll do it *smarter*!

      Thatcher hit the nail on it’s proverbial head when she commented “The only problem with socialism (and especially the flavor known as ‘Progressivism’) is that you quickly run out of other people’s money.”

      Unless you try a really stupid trick like pump 80 Billion dollars a month into the economy for years at a crack…

      Oh, wait…

  4. The vast majority of Americans answer vaguely written, extremely open questions in a way that left-leaning journalists claim means they support “common sense gun control laws”. In almost all cases the American people agree we should have laws we already have.

    • I, for one, believe that most legislation is for legislation’s sake. Cobbled together by our stupid a-hole neighbors needing jobs (a/k/a, our “gov’t”).
      I believe gun laws are 25% from people trying to do the “right thing”; 25% from people doing “something” as opposed to nothing; and the remaining half from people who know better then you, and if left unchecked will destroy the system designed to serve us.

  5. The tragedy in Oregon and the tragedies over the summer were sad occurrences, and unfortunately they followed the old pattern of these things tending to occur in clusters. People will have their knee-jerk reactions, but yes, ultimately gun control isn’t a huge priority to the portion of the population that does not own a firearm. Their priorities are usually economic.

    Between this and the NRA’s ability to mobilize a huge voting bloc (members and non-members alike), the left is scared indeed of voting gun owners.

  6. Out of curiosity, I wonder about the number of people who have gone from being pro-gun to anti-gun vs the number who have gone from anti- to pro-. In my own experience, I know two people who used to not like guns who now support gun rights. But I don’t know any who have gone from pro-gun to anti-. Not that my sample size is very significant, but I suspect that it has something to do with intensity. When you start to really think about the anti-gun arguments, they start to fall apart. And then you become less likely to fight for them.

    • “I wonder about the number of people who have gone from being pro-gun to anti-gun vs the number who have gone from anti- to pro-.”

      Opinion polls show that it was substantially anti-gun in decades past.

      The Heller opinion really boosted things our way.

      Our man Dean W. probably has some hard data he could share with us…

      • And over those same decades, the gun rights arguments have been honed and the internet has grown, providing a mainstream-news-filter-free forum to discus them.

  7. They still don’t get it – it’s not “depth of feeling” (for liberals, everything is feeling), it’s a combination of things. Some people find out what “universal background checks” are and drop their support. Some people learn about the dangerous precedent and temptation of firearm registries to personal freedom and drop their support. Some people learn that background checks *don’t stop criminals from getting guns* and drop their support.

    Perhaps in that one survey, conducted after a recently media-frenzied tragedy, was able to get 90% of respondents (who chose not to participate, I wonder?) to support universal security theater in the emotional moment, but the nation as a whole is more rational than that.

  8. Well I hope they keep beating that dead horse straw man forever. Keeps them distracted while the rest of us do work.

  9. Face it, Liberals will never let the truth get in the way of pushing their own personal agenda. They can bleat about how much they care about people all they want, the fact is they only care about one person . . themselves.

  10. Elect a President that stand for the second and the gun control states will have to explain how they violated the Constitution. No double standards put DC politicians on Obamacare and SS.Thanks for your support and vote.Pass the word.


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