Gallup released their latest poll on guns today. It’s full of win for fans of firearms freedom. Less than half of Americans (48 percent) currently favor stricter laws for the sale of firearms. That stat’s more-or-less back to where it was before the Newtown massacre, which raised the “more gun laws, please” answer’s popularity to 58 percent. Which is nothing compared to 1990, when 78 percent of Americans surveyed favored stricter gun sales laws. [Click here to see the historic decline] Even better, 73 percent of Americans are now against . . .
a ban on handguns (“except by the police and other authorized persons”). But, as Gallup points out, that still means that “about one in four Americans say handgun possession should be banned.” Not to be a Debbie Downer, but you could say that the idea of a complete handgun ban is like a virus lurking in the bloodstream of America’s body politic, reading to multiply when conditions change.
Then again, while Newtown moved the needle for support for gun sale laws, it produced barely a blip of support for a handgun ban. The post-Newtown 2012 Gallup gun poll was taken only five days after the Sandy Hook slaughter. Support for a handgun ban was two percentage points down from the previous year (24 vs. 26 percent). And only increased one percentage point (to 25 percent) in 2013. And added a single percentage point in 2014 (to 26 percent).
Quite simply, the more Americans who own handguns, the more Americans who carry handguns, the safer Americans’ gun rights. I reckon the Obama-fueled, post-Newtown surge in handgun sales staved-off a dramatic increase in the desire to ban them. As my father used to say, humans are all listening to WIIFM: Whats In It For Me. As long as people consider a handgun their personal defense weapon, they’ll fight to keep them legal.