By Larry Keane
There’s a family feud within the Democratic party aimed at pushing more gun control on Americans who’re buying firearms at a record pace, and what they actually want. President Joe Biden, gun control groups like Everytown for Gun Safety and Giffords and Congressional antigun Democrats are jamming through more restrictive policies.
Public polling paints a different picture of America’s appetite for gun control. Survey says: Americans do not want new gun control laws.
President’s Polling Problem
From the White House Rose Garden, President Biden announced proposals to limit so-called “ghost guns,” called for stricter regulations on handgun stabilizing braces, urged Congress to ban Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs), repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) so the industry can be sued out of existence and put in place expanded background checks as a precursor to national gun registration.
“Everything that is being proposed today is totally consistent with the Second Amendment,” the president claimed. “And there’s a wide consensus behind the need to take action.”
New polling shows there isn’t “widespread consensus” on these proposals or any new proposals for that matter. In fact, it’s the opposite. Support for more gun control is at the lowest levels in at least five years, according to Gallup. That includes support for enacting “more strict” gun policies dropping by 10 percent since 2018. That survey reveals a five percent drop in support for stricter policies among self-identified Democrats.
Gallup isn’t an outlier. More recently, a Washington Post/ABC News poll also found Americans have lost their desire for more gun control policies. That poll showed “that Americans overall are less supportive of new gun control legislation than they were just three years ago.” Still more polling shows the same declines. It’s an established pattern.
Young voters – those between the ages of 18-29 – have been a critical voting block for Democrats. That group’s support for gun control cratered by 20 points. Americans under the age of 30 have, since at least 2018, rejected increased infringements on the Second Amendment. The circumstances throughout 2020 led to millions of voters who previously supported gun control to reconsider and purchase a firearm, changing their politics along the way.
It doesn’t stop there. The calculus of changing gun control attitudes include a 20 percent drop for gun control among Hispanic-Americans, a group that had a 49 percent increase of firearm purchases in 2020 over 2019. That same timeframe saw African-Americans purchased firearms at a 58 percent greater pace. Asian-Americans did so by 43 percent.
Stalled for Good Reason
U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) refused to read the room. In Washington, D.C., 2021 began with Democrats pushing through unpopular gun control bills on a razor-thin party-line vote. In the Senate, those bills have stalled due to a 50-50 split and U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) refusing to budge on more gun control. His colleague Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) even dared Democratic Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to call a vote for a so-called “assault weapons ban.”
“I would challenge Senator Schumer to bring the assault weapons ban to the floor of the United States Senate. It won’t get 50 votes, much less 60,” Sen. Graham taunted.
That vote may happen, but if it does it’s more likely to go down in flames. Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs), the so-called “assault weapons” President Biden and gun control proponents want so badly to ban, are the most popular-selling semiautomatic rifles in the country. With more than 20 million in circulation today, the are commonly owned for lawful purposes like target shooting, hunting and self-defense.
With their growing support for the right to purchase and own firearms, it is clear what the American people want – and don’t want. They reject efforts at imposing more gun control and those that continue to push infringements on those rights are out of excuses to do so.
Larry Keane is Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade association.