Poll: Half of voters don't believe new gun control laws effective at preventing mass shootings

(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

For several days now we’ve been discussing the fact that Democrats are divided about how hard to push for new federal gun control laws in the wake of the targeted attack on a Buffalo grocery store, with even the staunchest supporters of criminalizing the right to keep and bear arms reluctantly acknowledging that the odds of winning Senate approval for universal background checks or Joe Biden’s assault weapons ban is basically “zero.”

Now a new Rasmussen poll is out that indicates most Americans don’t believe that gun control is the right way to address the issue, which

In the aftermath of a teenage gunman’s deadly spree in Buffalo, most voters remain unconvinced that more gun control laws can prevent such mass shootings.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 40% of Likely U.S. voters believe stricter gun control laws would help prevent shootings like the recent one in Buffalo. Fifty percent (50%) don’t think stricter gun control would help, while another 10% are not sure. These findings are almost identical to an April survey after a mass shooting on a New York City subway train.

According to the survey, only about 1 in 4 likely voters believe that it’s possible to completely prevent these types of shootings, whether or not new gun control laws are introduced.

As Rasmussen notes, the survey’s findings line up with what the polling outfit found when they asked the same question in April, which is an indication that despite efforts by gun control groups and anti-gun politicians to turn these tragedies into a referendum on our right to keep and bear arms, most voters aren’t interested in playing along.

There are a few exceptions, of course, and I was surprised to find out that conservative commentator Michael Reagan is one of them. In his latest column Reagan appears to embrace expanding the use of “red flag” laws, albeit with a caveat.

The reaction to the Buffalo tragedy by Biden, the Democrats and the liberal media was the usual “We need more, more, still more gun laws.”

But how about enforcing the (expletive) gun laws we’ve already got?

How about putting some teeth in so-called “Red Flag” laws?

Though ripe for abuse by gun-control zealots, they allow law enforcement in states like New York to take weapons away from people who’ve been deemed threats to themselves or others.

The punk in Buffalo still legally had his guns even though he had made threatening remarks in high school last year about shooting up a graduation ceremony and had undergone a mental health evaluation and counseling.

And how about holding parents accountable for not taking their wacko sons’ guns away?

We count on the government to take guns away from dangerous or crazy people.

But if you’re a parent and you have a whacked out son you’re worried about, lock up your (expletive) guns. Get them out of the house. Don’t wait for government to take them away because the government is sure not going to take them.

Red flag laws aren’t ripe for abuse from “gun control zealots”; they’re ripe for abuse from (depending on the specific language of a state’s red flag law) co-workers, family members, teachers, school counselors, neighbors, or anyone else a gun owner might come in contact with. The flaws in Extreme Risk Protection Orders are structural in nature, starting with the ex parte hearings that allow for firearms to be seized from individuals before they’ve ever had a chance to appear in court. Additionally, because red flag petitions are heard in civil court, the subjects of those petitions aren’t entitled to a public defender when they finally do get their day in court at a final hearing. If they can afford an attorney they can have one handle their case, but if they can’t they’re going to be facing a prosecutor and a judge all on their own. Finally, these laws may take guns from people deemed dangerous by a judge, but they don’t do anything about the dangerousness of the person who’s been red-flagged.

We’ll have a closer look at how these red flag laws are being used and abused in an anti-gun state later today, but in the case of the Buffalo shooting suspect New York’s red flag law was a non-issue. The suspect was taken in for a mental health evaluation and was found to be of sound mind. It’s an open question as to whether or not a judge would have granted an ERPO had one even been requested, and I think Reagan’s way off base in calling for the expanded use of these laws as a way to stop targeted attacks. He’s more on point when he talks about the responsibility of parents, but even then it’s not clear how much the suspect’s parents were aware of, especially given the lengths he apparently took to conceal his plans until a few minutes before he carried out his cowardly attack on unsuspecting and unarmed shoppers. Even then, though, Reagan is focused on the gun instead of getting the “whacked out” individual the treatment they need (or, if there’s evidence of a crime being planned, alerting authorities). A gun-centric approach to dealing with dangerous individuals is doomed to failure, because dangerous people don’t have to use a gun to carry out their plots. We need to be focused on the individuals themselves, and that’s not what red flag laws are all about or even intended to do.