Is this the end of the gun control debate? The Washington Post’s reported–probably to Everytown’s dismay–that more Americans see gun ownership as the solution in fighting crime, and not the problem:
It's an echo of a familiar theme from NRA head Wayne LaPierre. "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," LaPierre said frequently amid the more recent gun-control debate.
And most Americans agree with this logic, according to a 2014 Pew Research Poll. Since the 2012 Newtown, Conn., massacre of 26 people, including 20 school children, the poll found a nine-point rise in the number of Americans who think gun ownership could "protect people from becoming victims of crime."
The post-Newtown shift was most significant among Republicans, whose support for gun ownership in the two years since the attack rose from 63 percent to 80 percent.
The poll also marked the first time in two decades of Pew surveys that more Americans supported gun rights rather than gun control (though public opinion had been shifting that way for years).
In fact, the pro-gun-rights lobby is so powerful and its voters so active that Democratic senators who support gun laws tend to reverse their positions before reelection, a 2014 research paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research found.
Now, they aptly note that large majorities of Americans–gun owners and regular Joe alike–support the idea of background checks. A background check for a gun purchase is reasonable; the law requires it. Expanding them into private sales, which mostly involve family members, is a waste of time. It does nothing to reduce crime single the percentage of such sales are within single digits. It’s window dressing.
Moreover, the pro-gun control crowd had their narrative shattered when Dylann Roof was able to purchase a firearm because his pending narcotics charge wasn’t properly entered into the National Instant Background Check System [NICS]. That’s not to say that the system should be dismantled, but the aura of government being efficient in supplying that security blanket by expanding background checks was gutted, or at least it should be. The feds utterly failed to keep us safe in this instance.
Now, one area where both gun control and pro-Second Amendment alike can find an area of agreement is keeping firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill. John Russel Houser, the Louisiana movie theater shooter, had a history of mental illness, but was able to pass a background check for his firearms purchase at a pawnshop because he was never involuntarily committed. At the same time, the Grand Theater, where Houser engaged in a senseless act of violence that left two people dead and nine injured, was a gun-free zone. That’s another debate entirely, but it shows another area where gun control advocates back policies that leave law-abiding Americans vulnerable to attack.
Yet, getting back to the issue of whether the debate over this subject is over, the tides were already turning in the Second Amendment camp’s favor months after Newtown. Support for more gun regulations returned to their pre-Newtown levels, and 68 percent of Americans feel safer living in neighborhoods with firearms. Getting back to what the Post noted, our side outmaneuvers, out-fundraises, and, most importantly, votes when the time calls for it. Whenever there’s a ballot initiative–or candidate–who wishes to curtail one of our oldest civil rights, we act–and we usually win.
We’ve beaten the gun control side to a pulp. For now, the debate is over, but our society doesn’t allow for permanent victories since public opinion is volatile. Glenn Reynolds (aka Instapundit) remembers just two decades ago when the gun rights crowd was on the losing side, and we’re told by the gun control masses that the issue was settled. It could happen to us if we don’t continue to engage the other side, as annoying as that may be, in defending one of our most basic rights in the Constitution. C’mon! It’s great fun messing with the anti-gunners! As Reynolds said, this engagement is the reason why we won. It's because we fought.
Gun control groups, like Everytown, may brag about the millions in their membership who don’t vote, and petition signers who just waste paper. If your side doesn’t vote on Election Day, it means nothing. Yet, that could change. For now, we’re winning, and we should feel good about that. Moreover, with women becoming more active in exercising their Second Amendment rights, the hurdle for those who wish to pull the nation leftward on guns will find themselves hitting a very low ceiling in terms of support. Men, women, blacks, and Hispanics–they're all coming towards the right on firearms. Politically, Republicans, who are generally pro-gun rights, have two-thirds of the governorships, hold the most state legislative seats since 1920, and, as Reynolds noted, we have some form of carry rights in all 50 states.