Tuesday, March 28, 2023


If you look at polling on guns, you'll probably conclude that Americans are extremely dissatisfied with the nation's gun laws. Here's a poll from last summer:
Most U.S. adults want to see gun laws made stricter and think gun violence is increasing nationwide, according to a new poll that finds broad public support for a variety of gun restrictions, including many that are supported by majorities of Republicans and gun owners.

The poll by the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows 71% of Americans say gun laws should be stricter, including about half of Republicans, the vast majority of Democrats and a majority of those in gun-owning households.
Some numbers from that poll (click to read):

Another poll from the summer reports that even many gun owners support restrictions on firearms:
The overwhelming majority of gun owners are in favor of universal background checks, of raising the minimum age to buy guns to 21 and so-called "red flag" laws to remove guns from potentially dangerous people, a new NPR/Ipsos survey finds....

More than 8 in 10 gun owners said they are in favor of universal background checks for all gun sales, including private sales and at gun shows. That's similar to the almost 9 in 10 of all Americans who say so in other surveys.

Roughly two-thirds or more are in favor of raising the minimum age to buy an assault-style weapon to 21 (72%), raising the age to buy any kind of gun to 21 (67%) and red flag laws (65%).
But Americans don't vote these beliefs. In every nationwide election, and in state and local elections everywhere except the bluest areas, a solid majority of white Americans vote Republican. They know that Republicans oppose virtually every measure that limits gun ownership, or that even creates a small speed bump before a gun can be purchased. But they vote GOP anyway.

It's simple: If you want the gun laws to change, don't vote Republican.

But white Americans still vote the way they've voted for years. And then many of them join the rest of us in lamenting America's epidemic of gun violence, never recognizing that they're the problem.

In May 2021, a University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll found that 59% of Texans opposed a bill allowing open carry of firearms without a permit. The bill passed the legislature and was signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott the following month. A year later, Abbott won reelection by a 55%-44% margin. Republicans retained control of the state legislature and won every statewide office. A majority of Texans oppose this gun law, but they didn't punish anyone at the polls for it.

The same thing happened in Georgia. In January 2022, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll found this:
Nearly 70% of poll respondents said they do not believe adults in Georgia should be allowed to carry concealed handguns in public without first getting a license. Almost 28% of respondents said they support the idea.
The bill passed anyway and was signed into law by Governor Brian Kemp in April. In November, Kemp won reelection 53%-46% and Republicans retained control of the legislature while winning every state office. (Democrat Raphael Warnock won reelection to the U.S. Senate.) Agan, voters opposed a pro-gun bill, then chose not to punish the Republican elected officials who pushed the bill through.

If you're not a pro-gun absolutist but you keep voting GOP, you'll keeping getting gun absolutist policies from the government. It's that simple. Nothing changes until voting patterns change.

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