Survey Finds Common Ground On Gun Control

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Right now, our nation is seriously divided. I won’t say it’s worse than ever, mostly because we’ve had an actual shooting civil war and we’re not in one at the moment, but it’s pretty bad. Finding common ground is next to impossible, it seems. Especially around certain subjects, like gun control.

After all, we’ve had a lot of our rights taken in the past, managed to get a few back, and we’re not interested in giving them up.

But is that right? Is there no common ground on guns? A recent survey suggests otherwise.

While wide gaps remain in attitudes toward gun policies, research indicates some areas of agreement among gun policy experts–often beyond the typical proposals that dominate the conversation around guns. That’s according to survey data published on Tuesday by the RAND Corporation. Researchers found that experts across the ideological spectrum were largely united on policy outcome objectives and even shared some common interest in specific policies such as prosecuting prohibited possessors who seek firearms and expanding mental health prohibitions.

The survey polled experts about 19 common policy options ranging from universal backgrounds checks to permitless carry. It asked them to rate their likely effects across ten outcomes, such as homicides and the right to bear arms. Researchers found the experts generally fell into two ideological camps, a restrictive group favoring stricter regulation of gun ownership and a permissive group favoring a more lenient approach to gun ownership.

But, even those distinct approaches found common ground on half a dozen different proposals. Most dealt with ensuring those who had already been prohibited from owning guns due to a prior conviction or disqualifying mental health records were actually disarmed. State prosecution of prohibited possessors seeking firearms, expanded prohibitions against gun ownership based on severe mental illness, child access prevention laws, surrender of firearms by prohibited possessors, and firearm prohibitions for individuals subject to domestic violence restraining orders were the most agreed-upon policies.

Now, let’s be fair here. I’ve taken some issue with most of those proposals to some degree or another, but I could live with many of these being passed…to a point.

See, part of the problem for me is that it wouldn’t stop there. It’s never stopped anywhere. The gun control crowd will take what we’ll give them, then demand more.

Let’s say that we capitulated on each and every one of these. After all, many of them are things that I can live with, even if I don’t particularly like them. Let’s say we went along. Then what?

After all, I don’t see these having a huge impact on crime. There will still be issues and the gun control crowd will scream for still more.

Plus, what would they offer in return? The problem with these surveys is that they look at how to create new restrictions, but not whether there’s sufficient support to repeal anything. As it stands, there’s literally no carrot being offered for gun rights supporters’ to accept these restrictions.

Which is par for the course on gun control. With anti-Second Amendment types, it’s always about them taking, but they never offer anything in return, so you’ll excuse me if I don’t bow down and accept their edicts, even if I actually don’t have a huge problem with a particular edict.

Another issue is the law of unintended consequences.

For example, one example given above is child access prevention laws. On the surface, this seems perfectly rational. Kids don’t need to be screwing around with firearms without adult supervision.

However, what happens when a kid is home alone and someone breaks into the house. What happens then?

After all, the courts have found that the police have no duty to protect individuals, even children, from violent attacks. In Castle Rock v Gonzalez, even the presence of a restraining order was insufficient to mandate protection, so how would a case without one be any different. Yet if mature, trustworthy kids don’t have access to a gun in such a case, who ultimately pays?

It’s not the lawmakers, that’s for sure.

So while, in the abstract, there may be common ground, it doesn’t really play a factor for me. I’m holding my ground.