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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  • SigFan

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

    Which is exactly as it should be. There was a recent article in Pravda – yes, that Pravda – by a former communist admonishing Americans to keep their guns. It went on to talk about the horrors visited by the communists on the populace – after the populace willingly surrendered their arms. That with the Grace of God will never happen here. And if the crowds at my favorite gun store this weekend are any indication never is a long time.

    • http://proof-proofpositive.blogspot.com/ Proof

      Plus they are still pushing the failed policies of the past. No one, I understand, wants to return to the failed policies of the past…

      • SigFan

        Yeah, the last time they banned militaristic looking sporting rifles it worked out really well didn’t it? IMO this has everything to do with eliminating the ability of free citizens to resist oppression and absolutely nothing to do with making anyone safer.

        • http://proof-proofpositive.blogspot.com/ Proof

          In Di-Fi’s defense, I do not believe there was a single drive-by bayonetting since her “Assault” weapons bill restricted sales of guns with bayonet lugs.