According to a new poll from the Gallup Organization, guns are a driving issue for voters in the 2020 election. That may not come as a surprise, given the intense backlash we’ve seen in states like Virginia where Democrats are giving gun owners a sneak peek at their plans for federal gun restrictions if they take power in 2020. What may be surprising, and certainly concerning, is that according to Gallup, Democrats view “guns” as more important issue than Republicans do by 20 points; 46% to 26%.
I’m a little shocked by this result, but maybe I’m biased by living in Virginia and watching tens of thousands of my fellow residents turn out in defense and support of the Second Amendment over recent weeks. So what’s going on here?
It could be that Republicans are interpreting “gun policy” to mean gun control, instead of a broad definition that would include opposition to gun control as well. It’s also possible that many Democrats really are hellbent on enacting gun basic infringements on the right to keep and bear arms, and many Republicans are either blissfully unaware or generally unconcerned. It may be that Republicans are just not as concerned overall as Democrats are these days.
There’s some evidence suggesting the latter. According to the Gallup Poll, there are four subjects that more than 40% of Democrat respondents called “very important”:
- Healthcare – 49%
- Gun Policy – 46%
- Climate Change – 44%
- Education – 43%
Among Republicans, there’s not a single issue considered “very important” by 40% of respondents. The closest is “terrorism/national security,” which was important for 38% of Republican voters. Gun policy is 5th among Republican voters, behind not only terrorism but immigration, the economy, and abortion as well.
I drove by my local gun store in Farmville, Virginia today and I can tell you that based on the packed parking lot there were plenty of people who consider gun policy to be their most important issue in the 2020 elections inside. I also spoke to a friend in northern Virginia today who was picking out a shotgun, because she’s getting her sons involved in trap shooting. There was a line of customers waiting to pick out firearms of their own, and I suspect that gun policy is their most important issue as well.
We can’t wait until it’s too late to pay attention to this issue. No matter who the Democrats end up nominating, we’ll still be facing the most anti-gun candidate in U.S. history. I still don’t think it will be Michael Bloomberg, but even if he’s not the candidate he’s committed to spending up to a billion dollars to unseat Donald Trump, and he’ll be spending hundreds of millions more in support of anti-gun candidates at the federal, state, and local levels.
I would hate to see the mistakes of Virginia repeated nationally in this year’s elections, and we all need to be doing everything we can to prevent that from happening. Not only does that mean reaching out and trying to engage the other side in civil debate, but it also means alerting our side to the very real threats that we face. If this Gallup poll is right, we’ve got a lot of work to do.