Last week, we reported on a recent poll that argued most people want gun control. I argued that such a poll is irrelevant, and I stand by that position. After all, our rights aren’t supposed to be subject to mob rule. If they were, we’d lose something every time the wind blew.
But the good folks at the NSSF weren’t content with that argument, which is fair. They decided to take a look at that poll, and what they found is quite interesting.
The new survey by AP-NORC suggests U.S. adults want to see stronger gun laws. According to the poll, 71 percent of respondents prefer “stricter gun laws,” but it doesn’t go on to say what “stricter” entails.
Despite the topline suggestion, on-the-record respondents included in the AP-NORC report actually stated why they don’t support various policies or more restrictions on guns.
One specific policy NORC asked respondents about was a nationwide ban on the sale of semiautomatic rifles, or AR-15-style firearms. Less than 60 percent support that policy, according to NORC.
A recent Reload.com report showed that support for a ban on Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRS) reached a new low, below 50 percent, right as the U.S. House of Representatives passed a partisan bill to ban them.
It will not receive a vote in the U.S. Senate. NSSF industry data shows since 1990 there are now more than 24.4 million MSRs in circulation as of 2020.
That figure includes more than 4.5 million since 2018.
From the NORC report, respondent Nicole Whitelaw, a 29-year-old Democrat and gun owner, said proposals like banning AR-15s “goes too far, and may not solve the problem.”
Also quoted was Chris Boylan, a 47-year-old teacher from Indianapolis. He said, “gun violence is a major problem…and believes the issue is more about mental health and a too-lenient criminal justice system.” Boylan added, “Blaming the gun is an oversimplification of what the issues really are. It’s not the gun.”
So a lot of those respondents don’t seem very interested in gun control at all, it sounds like.
Yet the poll found people wanted “stricter” gun control? Well, yeah, and I think I know what they meant by that.
One of the problems with the laws we currently have is that they’re actually not particularly enforced. You see, the law about it being illegal for felons to buy guns is actually that it’s illegal for convicted felons to even attempt to buy guns. Yet when one tries, the NICS check comes back and the sale is denied, but then the felon can just diddy-bop on out of the store without a care in the world.
For a lot of people, that’s an issue.
How many advocating for stricter gun control actually meant stuff that was really just enforcement of our current laws? After all, there’s this idea that we don’t have any gun control laws to speak of at all, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see that the laws these folks want are already laws, just poorly enforced ones.
While I still argue that public opinion is and should remain irrelevant on the subject of our rights, it’s helpful to remember that most of these folks who supposedly support gun control aren’t articulating exactly what they supposedly want in the first place.