Why the push for gun control has stalled

Support for stricter gun laws hasn’t jumped as fast or as far in recent weeks as many liberals had hoped and expected. If you’re wondering why, maybe the reason is the shakiness of the public’s trust in government itself.

After the horrific murders three weeks ago at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, gun-control advocates confidently predicted that a wave of revulsion would sweep the nation. We would, in the popular argot, “hit the reset button,” beginning a fresh debate on new terms.

It hasn’t happened that way. In the USA Today-Gallup Poll taken just a week after the shooting, when one would expect the largest emotional effect, support for “more strict” gun control in the abstract was at 58%, compared with 43% about a year earlier. On specifics, 51% opposed a ban on private ownership of assault weapons. (There’s more support for posting armed guards in schools than for limiting access to assault weapons.)

If Newtown hasn’t pushed the numbers much, why not?

One plausible explanation is a lack of trust in the people who would be doing the regulating.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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