Monday, December 07, 2015

Recent trends, and Obama's presidency, have made supporting gun rights about more than guns

Many gun-control advocates don't understand the motivations of their opponents, write Jim Tankersley and Scott Clement of The Washington Post, citing polling data.

"Supporting gun rights, for a large portion of Americans, is about much more than guns," they report, citing several factors: "A backlash against government intrusion into individuals' lives . . . a belief that more guns make us safer" and "the rise of gun laws as a partisan issue (seen in poll graphic, above) after Barack Obama was elected president."

Tankersley and Clement write, "It's important to note that some tighter gun-control measures enjoy wide support across America, among liberals and conservatives, gun owners and even National Rifle Association households as well as those who have never pulled a trigger. More than 4 in 5 Americans support requiring background checks for private and gun-show firearms sales, and nearly as many favor laws preventing people with mental illness from owning guns, Pew Research surveys have found. Seven in 10 support a federal database of gun sales. Over half support bans on semi-automatic and assault weapons."

Still, "defending gun rights is a more popular position now than it has been in almost 20 years," the reporters note: "Half of Americans now say it is more important to 'protect the right of Americans to own guns' than it is to 'control gun ownership.'"

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