Gun control was shaping up to be a huge issue in the midterm elections after Uvalde. However, tempers have cooled and inflation hasn’t. As a result, many voters have moved on to more pressing issues.
Yet ABC News doesn’t seem to think so.
They’re touting gun control as a key issue in the elections not even two weeks from now.
There have been more than 500 mass shootings in the U.S. so far this year, according to a tracker from the Gun Violence Archive. Two of those shootings — one at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York and the other at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas — sparked nationwide outrage and debate about gun violence.
In fact, the tragedies prompted a response from Congress for the first time in decades. Lawmakers this summer passed a bipartisan gun safety package to fund the implementation of red flag laws, close the “boyfriend loophole” and enhance background checks for potential gun buyers under the age of 21.
But the legislation didn’t go as far as many gun control advocates wanted, and now some citizens are using the midterm elections as an opportunity to make more progress on the issue at the state level.
Take Oregon, for example, where voters will consider the country’s most comprehensive gun reform measure on the ballot this November.
Except Oregon isn’t exactly a good example of, well, anything.
For one thing, this is a ballot initiative. That means it’s stand-alone, so it’s likely to get votes even from lukewarm supporters, whereas gun control candidates, won’t necessarily.
And I’m hearing some rumblings out of Oregon that even many Democrats are less than thrilled with this measure, believing it will lead to uneven outcomes, so the passage of even this gun control isn’t a slam dunk by any stretch.
Especially since polling shows that only 51 percent of Oregon voters support Measure 114. That’s well within any margin of error you can imagine.
Additionally, let’s look at Iowa. They’ve got a gun measure on their ballot, though it’s pro-gun. There, it appears to be a safe bet that it will pass based on polling.
Now, maybe I’m reading too much into ABC News’s intentions. Maybe they’re talking about this as a more general thing, a genuine question about how powerful the gun control message actually is.
The problem is that we already know. Poll after poll of what issues matter to voters shows that gun control is far from the top of the heap. And many of those who list it as important aren’t in favor of it. They’re gun rights voters who see it as an important issue but oppose such a thing.
I think that November 8th will show that gun control isn’t the winning strategy Democrats believed it to be. It’ll show that despite the constant media blitz on guns, most Americans are at worst apathetic toward gun control as an issue.
That’s bad news for anti-gun activists, and it’s bad news that will stretch out for decades to come.