The other day, the Baltimore Sun ran an editorial blaming the spike in gun sales for the city’s spike in violent crime. Cam addressed that one already.
However, it seems the Sun isn’t finished in botching the reality surrounding the Second Amendment.
On Tuesday, the paper ran an op-ed stating that the American public wants gun control and questioning whether a Biden administration could actually deliver it.
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris ran on the most ambitious agenda for reducing gun deaths in presidential history and received the most votes ever cast for a presidential ticket in American history. Exit polls tell us that most of those voters supported stricter gun laws. According to recent exit polls, 55% of voters nationally said they back tighter gun laws, including 51% of voters in Wisconsin, and 58% of voters in Pennsylvania and Georgia.
Regardless of what happens in the two Georgia run-off elections on Jan. 5, the president-elect can and must take decisive action to respond to Americans’ call for safer communities.
Except, I’m not quite sure the authors know what they’re talking about.
Oh, sure, that polling exists. They didn’t make up the numbers or pull them out of their posteriors. What I do think, though, is that they’re misrepresenting the data.
See, as we noted a while back, support for gun control is actually decreasing historically.
According to the polling group, support for gun control is down seven points compared to 2019, and ten points compared to polling from 2018.
In the absence of a high-profile mass shooting in the U.S. in 2020 and amid the coronavirus pandemic, civil unrest related to racial justice issues and the contentious presidential election campaign, Americans are less likely than they have been since 2016 to call for increased gun control. The latest majority (57%) in the U.S. who call for stricter laws covering the sale of firearms marks a seven-percentage-point decline since last year. At the same time, 34% of U.S. adults prefer that gun laws be kept as they are now, while 9% would like them to be less strict.
Gallup has been tracking the public’s views on this measure since 1990, when a record-high 78% of Americans supported stricter laws for gun sales as the nation’s crime rate was rising. A majority of Americans held that position until 2008. Support then fell to a low of 43% in 2011, when an equal number said gun laws should be kept as is, but calls for stricter laws increased sharply to 58% in 2012 after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Of course, after the polling industry’s misfire in the 2020 election cycle, I think it’s fair to wonder if Gallup’s polling isn’t suffering from some of the same issues that we saw from other firms polling the presidential and congressional races; namely an undersampling of gun owners and pro-2A respondents who may be reluctant to tell pollsters their true views on gun issues.
In other words, support for gun control fell and it may actually be much, much lower.
Further, what the authors used was exit polling data, which can be wildly wrong. People feel put on the spot and tell pollsters what they believe they want to hear, versus what they actually think. This isn’t the kind of data you should use to make a legislative point by any stretch of the imagination. Especially depending on the areas where exit polling takes place. Focus on cities and you’ll get very different results than you’d get in rural areas, for example.
So, I wouldn’t be too quick to assume the American public will lock in at this point. Support for gun control is decreasing and will likely continue to decrease as things roll on.
Yet the writer for the Sun would really rather you didn’t know that.