It’s no secret: Hillary Clinton wants to reinstate her husband’s “assault weapons” ban (AWB). She’s been talking about it for months, and she’ll no doubt begin pushing Congress to pass it the moment she sets foot in the Oval Office.
There’s just one problem: no one agrees with her.
A new Gallup poll released last month shows that support for a new AWB is at an all-time low. Only 36 percent of respondents favored a ban, representing an eight percent drop in support from 2012 and a full 21 percent drop from when Gallup first started asking the question in 1997.
Meanwhile, the percentage of people who oppose a ban has steadily risen. In 2000 only 39 percent of Americans were opposed to a ban. In 2011 that number had risen to 53 percent, and last month a full 61 percent of those polled said they were against an AWB.
Surprisingly, opposition to an AWB has also increased among Democrats, the party that instituted the first ban in 1994 and has continued to push for an AWB in this election. In 1996, sixty-three percent of Democrats supported an AWB; today that number is down to 50 percent. This means that only half of Hillary Clinton’s own party supports her push for a new ban on black rifles.
Reading the poll summary, it’s clear that Gallup doesn’t know what to make of their findings. They wonder why, in an “era of ongoing terrorist attacks and mass shootings,” fewer and fewer Americans support banning semi-automatic rifles. They blame Republicans for stepping up their opposition to a ban, but that doesn’t explain the increased opposition among Democrats. They also note a growing distrust of the federal government, which likely has something to do with the trend.
But they fail to mention two even more likely causes. The first is that the American people have realized an “assault weapons” ban wouldn’t do anything to make the country safer. Even the New York Times, that bastion of anti-gun rhetoric, admitted in a recent article that “reviving a 1994 ban on assault weapons and ammunition feeding devices that hold more than 10 rounds would have a minimal impact, at best, on gun violence.” More people are killed every year with hands and feet than with rifles. Banning semiautomatic rifles would do virtually nothing to diminish gun-related violence.
The second reason Americans oppose an AWB is precisely because we live in an era of terrorism and mass shootings. Whether it’s true or not, people feel the country is growing more dangerous, and they want to be able to defend themselves. Limiting their Second Amendment rights is exactly the opposite of what they want their elected officials to do.
Hillary hasn’t gotten that memo, but, hopefully, Congress will remain stalwart in their opposition to any further infringements upon the right to keep and bear arms.