Poll: Most want gun control but don't think it will work

(AP Photo/Wilson Ring, File)

Proponents of gun control will routinely tell us that their preferred policies are absolutely essential. Without them, they claim, criminals will get firearms and the end result will be more deaths at the hands of gunmen.

That’s what they say, at least.

However, we know that these policies don’t work as advertised. It’s part of why we oppose them.

But what about the American public. What do they think? Well, polls can be all over the place, but a recent one is kind of interesting.

The latest Economist/YouGov poll finds that most Americans have heard about the recent Brooklyn subway shooting, and a large share attribute the shooting to mental illness. While many people say that the number of mass shootings has increased over the past year, most say stricter gun laws wouldn’t have prevented these events. However, Americans are far more likely to say that handgun laws should be made stricter, rather than less strict, and almost every one of the gun-control measures polled is supported by a majority of Americans.

Would stricter gun laws have prevented any recent mass shootings? More people say stricter laws would not have prevented any shootings (46%) than say they would have (29%). Democrats (53%) are more likely to say any shootings would’ve been prevented than Republicans are (10%).

While they aren’t confident stricter laws would prevent mass shootings, more Americans would prioritize an effective solution to gun violence over gun rights, than would put gun rights first. Nearly one-third (31%) say that it’s more important to protect people from gun violence than say it’s more important for people to have a right to own guns (22%). Even more (40%) say both are equally important. Men are equally likely to prioritize protection from gun violence (29%) and gun rights (28%), while women are twice as likely to prioritize protection (34%) over gun rights (17%).

So they don’t think gun control works, but they think we need gun control anyway?

Honestly, there’s an issue here and it seems quite clear that too many Americans don’t understand how rights actually work and why it’s important to preserve them in the face of anything.

I mean, 31 percent think our right to keep and bear arms are less important than safety? Benjamin Franklin is rolling over in his grave right now.

So just what kind of policies do the polled population support? It’s a staggering and troubling list. They found that 71 percent if those polled favor requiring criminal and mental background checks for any and all gun sales, 60 percent favor say they want a national gun registry, 56 percent favor banning the sale of standard capacity magazines, 52 percent favor banning semi-automatic firearms, and finally, 45 percent favor preventing people from carrying a concealed gun in public

It should be noted, though, on that last one, while 45 percent responded that way, another 45 percent said it should be either less strict or just as it is with 11 percent saying they just didn’t know.

They left that out of the report.

None of this sounds good. However, the thing with polls is that they can swing either way the wind blows. A poll today and a poll tomorrow could have vastly different results. The public is fickle, after all.

However, it also seems the public is rather ignorant as well, and not just about rights in general.

After all, 52 percent want a ban on semi-automatic firearms? The only explanation for that is that many don’t understand that “semi-automatic” isn’t just so-called assault weapons, but includes the vast majority of handguns. Grandpa’s old 1911 that he brought back from World War II is semi-automatic. So are a lot of hunting rifles–you know, the guns we’re repeatedly told no one wants to ban?

Either 52 percent of those polled want to roll the firearm industry back to the 19th Century or they simply don’t know what they’re talking about.

It’s clear we need to do a lot more to educate the public on just what these gun control policies actually mean.

After all, the American left looks at polls as mandates to trample on our God-given rights with gun control. We need to take them seriously, even if they conflict with other recent polls.