Gun control advocates love to portray Second Amendment supporters as just a bunch of old white guys in overalls, hillbillies who love their guns more than their children and are probably racist, homophobic, and sexist to boot. It’s nonsense, but its important for their cause to other-ize gun owners. They don’t want suburban moms to think about their neighbor, their dentist, or their child’s teacher when they think “gun owner.” They want moms to think about Cletus in the trailer park instead. Makes it easier to feel good about “punishing” gun owners if you don’t think you’re actually hurting anyone you know.
Gun owners, of course, know that no matter how you slice or dice American demographics, you’re going to find gun owners. We’re everywhere, and a new poll out of Ohio is perfect evidence of the fact that support for the Second Amendment isn’t only to be found in the hearts and minds of older white men.
Black Ohioans are more conservative than many people might think, favoring small government, taxpayer funding for private schools, gun rights over gun control, and private health insurance over a single-payer system, a sweeping new poll has found.
The survey of 1,500 black Ohioans, unveiled Wednesday by the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus Foundation and the University of Akron’s Bliss Institute, offers a first-of-its-kind statewide look into the political thoughts of Ohio’s 1.7 million black residents.
Sixty percent of those polled said they prefer small state government, with fewer services and lower taxes, over larger state government.
In addition, 53 percent agreed with protecting the right of citizens to own guns, compared with 47 percent who agreed with restricting the right of citizens to own guns. That finding was “surprising,” said John Green, director of the Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron.
Looking at the entire poll in context, I don’t think it’s that much of a surprise that a majority of respondents said it was important to own a gun. Fully 75% of respondents felt that police officers are “deployed in some neighborhoods with more effectiveness.” If you don’t feel well served by your police department, you may very well come to the conclusion that you need to protect yourself. You may also feel like your police do a good job, but they’re still minutes away when you only have seconds to spare.
I’d also love to know if younger respondents were more or less likely to believe it was important to protect the right to own a gun. Some recent polls have suggested that younger voters are far more supportive of gun control laws than their older counterparts, but there’s also a growing rejection of some gun control policies by young criminal justice reform advocates. We highlighted one example yesterday, but here’s another. Mother Jones, one of the oldest political publications on the Left, just ran a story entitled “How Michael Bloomberg Bought The Gun Control Movement”, and it’s worth a read, no matter your personal politics.
The story of how Bloomberg elevated himself to such a position is less about guns than about Bloomberg—specifically, his skills as a political tactician. He seized control of the movement at a time when its key players were weak, forging crucial alliances and dispensing enormous sums of money to bend the gun control world to his will. And the way Bloomberg did it—under circumstances that bear similarities to the 2020 Democratic primary—offers lessons for understanding his current White House bid.
“The overriding feng shui of Bloomberg’s folks is that they [think they] are the smartest kids in the room and can do almost anything better than almost anyone else,” a former senior employee of Mayors Against Illegal Guns says. “The gun issue is Exhibit A for them.”
There are some on the Left who are starting to look critically at the gun control movement and its impact on communities of color. Why should young black men in New York City face a felony record and years in prison for carrying a gun without a license when it’s perfectly legal to do so in fifteen states (and many more if you’re carrying openly)? Are Bloomberg-style gun control laws part of the problem, instead of the solution? For years, many gun owners have been making that argument, but now non-gun owners and non-conservatives are starting to examine the issue for themselves. I can’t help but wonder if that’s reflected in the new poll at all.
Regardless, I expect these results to be largely ignored by the media and gun control advocates. It simply doesn’t fit their narrative, and they certainly don’t want to highlight the fact that people of all races and ages support the right to keep and bear arms. It’s far easier for them to lie to themselves and others and push out the lie that the only people who care about the issue are a few white guys wearing ballcaps and long beards than it is for them to tell the truth: the right of the people to keep and bear arms is being exercised by the People, and it’s becoming more small-d democratic and representative of the nation as a whole by the day.