If one proclaims themselves to be qualified to teach political science, one should be at least somewhat aware of political reality.
I wonder how much attitudes would change if somebody told the truth to the American people? They have been lied to for so long, there might be an upheaval.
The Big Lie of gun control has been so successful in shaping American opinion that I am not sure if the public could readily digest the magnitude of the deception.
Case in point: From February 5 though February 11 of 2019, Marist conducted a poll of American adults. The study was commissioned by NPR and the PBS Newshour and was generally focused on popular gun control legislation.
Parts of the study received a lot of attention, but there was one result that never seemed to be discussed.
The last question on the survey was, “From what you have read or heard, do you think, compared to 25 years ago, the per capita gun murder rate in the U.S. is high, lower, or about the same?”
59% of those responding believed the rate was higher; 23% thought it was about the same.
The last year for which we have national numbers is 2017, which would make 1993 the first year of a 25-year period. From 1993 to 2017, the per-capita gun homicide rate fell about 32%.
So, according to the survey, 82% of Americans believed something that wasn’t true.
Speaking of surveys, the Marist poll echoed something that has shown up in other studies where the responses were sorted by generation: Millennials are generally a bit less supportive of gun control than than Generation X and Baby Boomers.
It’s a mistake to compare the media circus that was Parkland to other school or mass shootings. Parkland is in Broward County, which prides itself on being the “most Democratic county in Florida.” The March for Our Lives was a carefully manipulated, lovingly cultivated, well-funded event. It was not echoed in the aftermath of the Santa Fe High School shooting, which occurred just a few months later. Santa Fe is is Galveston County, which is definitely not the most Democratic county in Texas.
There is growing resistance to the gun control agenda. It’s not only from gun owners, it’s from entire counties. Legislation was introduced in one state to have the entire state become a Second Amendment sanctuary, where federal laws that differed from state laws would not be enforced and agencies would be forbidden to use taxpayer money, public employees, or other government assets to enforce the federal laws.
The gun control agenda is also in serious jeopardy of being derailed. Several of the main talking points have been questioned by federal courts and the rulings have not been favorable.
And therein lies the crux of the problem: some gun control works; the popular “remedies” currently in vogue don’t. We know this from experience as all of them have been tried either or the federal or state level.
So it’s not so much that gun owners or the NRA are against any gun control; they oppose the specific “commonsense” proposals, most of which have been on the agenda since at least the late 1980s.
It has been illegal for a felon or a person with mental health issues that can pose a danger to others to possess a firearm since the Federal Firearms Act of 1938 went into effect. More classes of prohibited persons were added with the Gun Control Act of 1968, the Brady Act of 1993, and the Lautenberg Amendment to the Omnibus Spending Bill of 1997.
What a lot of people don’t understand is that prohibitions have to be consistent with the U.S. Constitution. Not the Second Amendment; the Fifth Amendment, which requires due process before a citizen can be deprived of life, liberty, or property.
Since the right to keep and bear arms, just like freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of worship, is a right that exists independently of the Constitution, it is among the rights included in “liberty.”
Due process means a finding in a court of law or a determination of mental incapacity by a board of competent authority. In the case of a court verdict, it must be rendered only after the rights of the accused have been observed. This means the accused has been charged; a true bill has been rendered by a grand jury; has had the opportunity to be represented by legal counsel; has been able present his/her side of the case; has been able to call witnesses; and a verdict has been rendered by a jury or a judge.
This is why the use of the “no-fly” list as a prohibition on possession of a firearm was such a bad idea. In fact, it was surprising that President Obama, who is very conversant with constitutional law, even brought it up; it would never have survived the first lawsuit.
None of the popular gun control measures would have any impact on actual violence, which is to say the use or threat to use physical force on another person. This includes murder, non-negligent and negligent manslaughter, aggravated assault, forcible rape, and armed robbery.
Criminals don’t obey laws. That’s why we call them criminals. So the only impact of universal background checks, bans on certain types of firearms or magazines, licensing, registration, and so forth, is on people who have done nothing wrong. In other words, law-abiding citizens who own guns with no nefarious intent.
This is why there is no observable difference in violent crime rates between states with heavy restrictions on gun ownership and states with few gun laws. This is even true of cities. Out of 595 U.S. cities reported by the FBI each year, St. Louis, Missouri, had the highest homicide rate in 2017. Missouri has fairly relaxed gun laws. Maryland has strict gun laws and lots of them, yet Baltimore had the second-highest homicide rate in the U.S.
If gun control advocates sincerely want a bright future, they are going to have to change their game. The same is true for gun rights advocates.
Both sides need to look at the truth and seek to find solutions together but the animosity will never end as long as one side demonizes the other.