New polling confirms Americans are increasingly rejecting gun control calls amidst circumstances that have left them feeling exposed to danger and unsafe in their communities. Americans, by the millions, have turned those anxieties into empowerment by purchasing a firearm, exercising their Second Amendment right for protection and rejecting gun control politicians and their schemes.
Follow the Data
Two recent polls show the shift. Gallup pins American support for more gun control at a tick above 50 percent, the lowest mark since 2014. At the same time, Quinnipiac polling pegged the number even lower, showing just 45 percent support stricter gun laws – a drop of nine points since April this year.
Included in the data is that 54 percent of self-described Independents oppose enacting more gun laws. This reflects firearm industry survey data from the past two years showing first-time buyers broke the molds of traditional gun owners. That number reached more than 8.4 million in 2020. That also reflected hikes in African-American, Hispanic-American and Asian-American gun buyers. More than 3.2 million Americans bought their first firearm within the first six months of 2021.
That shift isn’t in the shadows either. ABC’s The View guest host Sherri Shephard, defied the routine call for increased gun control and admitted she purchased a gun. “I felt very empowered when I bought this gun. I took lessons, I took the test, I go to the range with my girlfriends like every other week, and it just makes me feel like at least if something happens, I can protect my child.”
Changing Political Calculus
Polls are reflecting a snapshot of how Americans feel about more restrictions on their Second Amendment rights. That sentiment has turned into political action over the past several months. Voters are making their voices heard by elected officials and at the ballot box.
The most high-profile example was President Joe Biden’s withdrawal of his nomination of staunch gun control advocate and paid gun control lobbyist David Chipman to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Chipman’s abbreviated U.S. Senate confirmation hearing was a disaster.
He was unable to garner the support of even all Senate Democrats or Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), or from any Second Amendment-supporting Republican. Chipman blamed everyone but himself for his failure to secure confirmation and still hasn’t recognized that Americans just don’t agree with him on gun control.
Another example is Republican Glenn Youngkin’s victory in the Virginia gubernatorial election over staunch gun control advocate and former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Also sweeping to victories were Republicans Lieutenant Governor-elect Winsome Sears, who posed with her Modern Sporting Rifle (MSR) in a campaign ad, and Attorney General-elect Jason Miyares. The Virginia House of Delegates turned to a Republican majority after six seats flipped against gun control.
The numbers don’t lie. Americans, in record numbers, are buying guns and learning that the gun control laws aren’t aimed at criminals. They’re aimed at them.
Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.