A newly-released Gallup Poll shows that a majority of Americans are not satisfied with the nation’s gun laws, but the dissatisfaction appears to be split along political party lines.
According to Gallup, 59 percent of U.S. adults are unhappy with the nation’s gun laws, while 39 percent are satisfied. But there is something of a caveat in that, “Republicans are the most content when it comes to the country’s gun laws.”
“Sixty-nine percent of Republicans say they are satisfied,” Gallup reported, “but even more Democrats (79%) are dissatisfied (and 18% are satisfied). Independents are more divided, with 57% dissatisfied and 41% satisfied.”
As Newsweek observed, “Gallup researchers point out that the difference between views in opposing political parties is more drastic than before.”
Guns are a polarizing subject. In an election year, talking about guns can be politically toxic, and this is an election year. Congressional mid-terms are in November, less than nine months away and that can be an eternity in politics.
And this could become a year of high toxicity since pending before Congress are two pieces of legislation gun owners have been demanding, and if the GOP wants them back at the ballot box this fall, Capitol Hill may have to move. National Concealed Carry Reciprocity is lingering in the Senate following passage by the House late last year. The proposed National Hearing Protection Act is just lingering. Democrats led by perennial anti-gunners Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) have made clear their intent to fight both bills vigorously.
But here’s the real dilemma that gun control advocates face: What improvements to current gun laws have they recommended that might actually do what they have repeatedly intimated such laws would do?
“Enhanced” Background checks? What is an “enhanced background check” and just how will one prevent a crime?
According to the Seattle-based Alliance for Gun Responsibility, the “EBC” should be enacted to own a so-called “assault weapon.” Such a check would:
- Require that someone must be over 21 years old
- Require additional training for anyone seeking to purchase an “assault weapon”
- Require purchasers to state a clear, lawful reason and use for the “assault weapon”
- Require that the background check be done each year to ensure people who own “assault weapons” are still eligible to possess the weapon.
Second Amendment activists counter that these are infringements and/or impairments on the right to keep and bear arms.
This was the anti-gun lobby’s response to a triple slaying in Mukilteo, north of Seattle, two years ago. The 19-year-old shooter bought his rifle at a sporting goods store several days before the crime. He passed a background check. Critics complain that he had to read directions to know how to operate the rifle, which raises a question: Would they rather some crazy shooter be well-trained, so they might be able to increase the carnage?
Can anyone name another constitutionally-delineated fundamental right that should require annual government clearance before that right can be exercised?
What the Gallup poll has done is remind the country that people are split politically and philosophically on the gun issue, and that everyone would like to see violent crime reduced, but blaming firearms and penalizing honest gun owners isn’t the way to accomplish that.