For some reason, Democrats are gearing up for another gun-control crusade, even though they couldn’t make it work when they controlled the Senate, at a moment of maximum media energy for the gun-control movement. They seem to think it will put a fresh political wind in their sales, despite the dearth of polling evidence to suggest any great number of Americans is enthusiastic for further gun regulations. It’s an obsession for the Left, but a very faint blip on the national radar screen, even during big media pushes for the anti-gun narrative.
The degree to which Americans don’t care about gun control is sometimes surprising even to gun-rights advocates, because this seems like it would be a stellar example of an issue that slants poll responses by the nature of the questions asked: “Do you support further restrictions to keep guns out of the hands of violent criminals?” and that sort of thing. And yet, the number of Americans who are either indifferent to the gun-control agenda, or actively oppose it, remains far higher than the share of the population that actually owns guns, no matter how energetically the media hammers the issue.
Why do Democrats think this loser of a cause is going to whip up support for their fading Party? Maybe they’re in love with the easy moralizing it affords them – they think this is one of those issues where dissenters can be presumed guilty of callous indifference to the lives of children, if not homicidal depravity, so it will score them some points even if the latest legislative drive fails. They’ll receive credit for good intentions no matter how things shake out in Congress, and they certainly aren’t going to flog themselves for trying, the way the Republican Party is prone to do after political washouts. (That’s one of the things Democrats understand far better than Republicans – they treat their exploratory political forces as visionary leaders, not extremists or hyper-partisans, and feel no need to throw them under the bus to placate the Beltway media. Democrat politicians may concede a few lost battles, but never lost causes.)
This looks like a particularly inauspicious moment to launch the latest gun-control crusade, since as the Washington Times reports, a new Pew Research Center study suggests support for the Second Amendment has reached a 20-year high:
Pew found that 52 percent of Americans say Second Amendment rights are more important than gun control ??? up 7 percentage points from just after the December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that left 20 schoolchildren and six faculty dead.
That???s the highest approval rating in two decades, and it???s being driven in part by changing attitudes among black Americans, who are increasingly likely to view guns as good for public safety.
Pew found 54 percent of blacks now say firearms protect people from being victims of crimes, compared to 41 percent who say they are a public safety risk. Just two years ago, only 29 percent of blacks said guns were a public safety boon.
???Over the past two years, blacks??? views on this measure have changed dramatically,??? Pew researchers said.
This is described as a “stunning turnaround in how Americans feel about the issue just two years after the Newtown shooting,” although the lesson to take away from the subsequent failure of gun-control legislation is that support for gun rights never really flagged all that much. This is partly due to the public’s awareness that, contrary to media mythology, firearms are already heavily regulated, and if there’s anything wrong with the current system, it should be addressed by better enforcement of the laws already on the books, not throwing new laws onto the pile.
Also, there are so many stories about people, including vulnerable women, defending themselves with legal guns that Americans aren’t going to sacrifice their self-defense rights to appease the arrogant elite rulers of our bumbling super-State. Such concerns appear to be on the minds of black respondents to the Pew survey, whose loss of confidence in the government’s ability to protect them over the course of just two years really is stunning. I assume the Pew poll was not entirely shaped by the post-Ferguson wave of distrust for the police, but that could be one contributing factor, as could the exasperation of law-abiding urban citizens with the systemic indulgence of lawbreaking. The leftist elite and professional agitators scoff – usually with a good deal of anger – at the suggestion that young black men are being largely murdered by criminals, not trigger-happy racist cops and homeowners, but the average resident of a crime-infested Democrat-controlled city can see the truth in their daily newspapers.
The Washington Times relays an interesting complaint from a gun-control advocate about the Pew poll:
Ladd Everitt, a spokesman for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, said Pew???s findings reflect a sharp partisan divide on the issue, but also said the wording of the survey might have influenced the results. The survey asked whether it was more important to ???control gun ownership??? or ???protect the right of Americans to own guns.???
???The notion of having ???rights??? is certainly going to be more appealing than the notion of being ???controlled,??? no matter what topic you are asking respondents about,??? he said in an email. ???We???d be curious to see how the polling would look if Pew Research asked respondents if they believed they had ???a right to be free from gun violence in their communities through the enactment of sensible gun legislation.??????
The “notion” of having “rights?” It’s not a notion – it’s explicitly laid out in the Bill of Rights, in a Constitutional amendment second only to the rights of free speech and religion. The gun-control lobby has worked for decades to trick the American people into thinking gun rights are some sort of hypothetical construct, maybe even something to do with membership in state-certified paramilitary militias. Judging by these polling trends, their failure to erase the Second Amendment with political rhetoric is comprehensive, so if they want to get rid of it, they’re going to have to do the hard work of arranging for a new Constitutional amendment.