The pro-gun control crowd tosses a lot of nonsense into the media spin cycle regarding firearms; we all know this. One of the most frustrating things though is the absurd talking point that it’s easier to buy a gun than it is to buy a candy bar–or a pack of gum. I never knew buying a pack of Juicy Fruit required a 4473 form with the ATF.
Maybe the reason that this talking point has been hurled at this consistently whenever there is a gun-related tragedy is because at one time it actually resonated. A new CNN/ORC poll found that between 1989-1993, 67 percent of Americans, on average, thought it was too easy to get a gun. By the same average and time frame, just 25 percent thought it was about right.
That percentage could be possibly due to the high rates of crime, especially gun-related homicides that peaked in 1993. As of now, firearm-related homicides are down 39 percent; Pew found that it decreased by 49 percent. Overall, violent crime continues its downward trend. Also, those who feel that the laws make it too easy to buy a gun have also experienced a downturn.
Right now, 49 percent of Americans feel that existing laws make it “about right” for law-abiding citizens to purchase firearms; 10 percent think it’s too difficult; and 41 percent say it’s too easy. Concerning expanding background checks, on average, 75 percent said it was either extremely, very or somewhat likely that it would prevent the mentally ill from obtaining firearms; a debate that should happen given the propensity for mass shooters to have serious mental health issues. Granted, it’s a long and serious debate, but anti-gunners don’t seem to want to come to the table for now. Sixty-five percent, on average, said that it would prevent criminals from getting guns, which is already law. Yet, the last part is where conservatives, and those who have pro-Second Amendment views, are concerned; will expanding background checks make it harder for law-abiding citizens to exercise their constitutional rights: 71 percent said it’s likely that will happen, whereas only 28 percent said that it’s not.
Certainly there are some mental conditions that should prohibit that person from obtaining a firearm, but not all mental illness fit in that same category. Moreover, we have veterans and social security beneficiaries who are being placed on gun ban lists over their financial situation. You can surely bet that anti-gun liberals would want to stretch the definition of mental illness to curb Second Amendment rights.
In all, there are good things in this poll. It shows that Americans are starting to realize that you don’t need a background check to buy a Nestle Crunch bar. For the first time, a plurality feels that gun laws are about right regarding access when purchasing a firearm. Lastly, it’s part of an ongoing trend that has strengthened Second Amendment rights; 20 years ago that wasn’t the case.
Second Amendment supporters have stood firm and won landmark Supreme Court cases, Appeals Court cases, and other pieces of legislation. In the court of public opinion, support for gun rights has hit a 25-year high. The vast majority of Americans feel that a firearm in the home makes them safer, and prefer to live in neighborhoods that honor that principle. Concealed carry permits have surged since 2007; more women are exercising their Second Amendment rights–contributing to the CCW surge–and are the fastest growing demographic of new gun owners. As of now, we’re winning by more than a few touchdowns. The talking points from the anti-gun left are falling flat. They’ve resorted to harassing law-abiding gun owners, probably to prove that they still exist as their movement desperately tries to find a piece of land to stake their claim in this debate. The problem is that most of that ground has been ceded to those who support the Second Amendment. As our side gets bills passed, protected, and reaffirmed by the courts, all the anti-gun left has is a goodie bag of pie-in-the-sky gun control initiatives that have zero chance of passing Congress.
Nevertheless, public opinion can change, which is all the more reason why conservatives need to keep moving forward in this cultural debate.