"Common ground" on guns not as easy as polls suggest

"Common ground" on guns not as easy as polls suggest
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

There are some people out there desperate to pass gun control measures, so desperate that they’re not that particular about just what gets passed. Since their preferred laws are non-starters, they’re eager to find common ground, things they can get enough support for that it’ll pass.

And that’s at the heart of this piece out of Michigan.

Thoughts and prayers. After years of mass shootings and gun violence, all the country has to show for the bloodshed is a long stream of condolences. Following shootings in Parkland, Oxford, UVA and countless other locations, legislators nationwide have advocated for strong reform, only to repeatedly come up short. Support for legislation curtailing access to some types of firearms draws support from 71% of Americans, yet the drastic measures proposed by activists on the left have caused a stalemate with right-wing lawmakers, preventing any significant legislation from being passed.

In order to escape the endless cycle of carnage and inaction, it’s time for the left to reevaluate its policies and focus on measures that enjoy higher support from the American people. Rather than advocating for assault rifle bans and mandatory buyback programs, legislators should focus on measures like red flag laws, background checks and limits on the sale of high-capacity magazines, which have bipartisan support and a far greater chance of being implemented. Though these reforms certainly won’t stop all violence, they’ll go a long way toward improving safety in our communities and breaking decades of deadlock on gun reform.

So, where do we start?

First, let’s start with “background checks.”

You see, we already have background checks. Every firearm purchased from a licensed gun dealer only changes hands after a background check has been passed. We have those in place and have for years now.

So when you see polling data saying the public supports background checks, you may not realize that the way the questions are asked in a way that’s vague enough that many who say they support background checks are supportive of the status quo. They don’t want universal background checks.

And we know that because of the numerous instances when such were on statewide ballots and the measure failed.

But what about red flag laws? Clearly, those would stop such shootings and have broad support, right? Well, I’m not sure how much support they have after failing in both Richmond and Colorado Springs.

Which brings me to “high-capacity magazines.”

Look the anti-gunners have pushed this for years. Unfortunately, this is false and regardless of any public support, it’s a terrible idea. Especially since one of the deadliest mass shootings of recent years, Parkland, was a case where the killer didn’t use higher-capacity magazines. While some like to say that it’s a case of the carnage that could have been worse otherwise, the truth is that there were no laws in place to prevent the killer from only using those lower-capacity magazines.

See, it doesn’t matter how many rounds you have when literally no one else there has a gun.

For all this talk of “common ground” on guns, the author forgets that polling is, at best, a snapshot of what people think in that moment of a broad policy proposal. When the rubber meets the road, however, the details could be something else entirely.

And since all of these suggestions are terribly ideas that we’ve debunked a thousand times.

Unfortunately, they keep persisting under the guise of “common ground” when no such thing actually exists. Polling just creates the illusion that it does.