On Monday, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review published a Pew Research poll, showing Americans’ support for gun rights is at its highest point in over 20 years.
The Tribune reported Pew’s numbers show 52 percent of Americans now support gun rights, versus 46 percent who support more gun laws.
Pew cites the media’s relentless focus on crime as one possible reason for Americans’ change of heart: Media outlets and politicians focused on crime to show how dangerous guns had made America to gin up support for gun control. However, the attempt backfired, and Americans responded to the reports of higher crime by wanting more guns and wanting their right to own guns protected.
Another theory, highlighted by the Tribune, is that Americans simply came to understand that Second Amendment rights–like First, Third, Fourth, and Fifth Amendment rights, among others–are constitutionally protected and not up for a public vote.
The Tribune quotes Firearms Owners Against Crime’s Kim Stolfer explaining: “The Second Amendment is not determined by public opinion. Even if 90 percent [of the people] are for gun control–sorry, you can’t take it away. We don’t have rights by public opinion. That’s why we have a Bill of Rights.”
Stolfer also pointed to one more possible contributor to the growing victory for gun rights; namely, the practical, real-world failure of gun control.
Many people are realizing that this 50-year experiment on gun control has been a complete and utter failure. The average person is realizing they’ve been sold a bill of goods and they have to look out for themselves. [In this way,] I just think that public opinion is finally catching up with what’s been known all along.
Everytown for Gun Safety’s Erika Soto Lamb responded by suggesting things are not as bad as they seem for gun control supporters.
She said that the Pew poll may be showing strong support for gun rights simply because of the language the poll uses. Lamb said: “It presents a false choice between gun rights and so-called gun control. It’s set up so you can’t be for the Second Amendment and also for public safety measures that keep guns out of dangerous hands.”
What Lamb failed to note is that the same language has been used for years, and until recently, has always drawn responses favorable to gun control supporters.
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