More people are expressing support for the Second Amendment than those who oppose it.
Back on April 10, I wrote about what I considered the “complete failure” of the propaganda push against guns that started with the Sandy Hook mass shooting. In that case, my evidence was gun ownership. Now that data can be complemented with a Pew survey on attitudes toward guns:
For most of the 1990s and the subsequent decade, a substantial majority of Americans believed it was more important to control gun ownership than to protect gun owners’ rights. But in December 2014, the balance of opinion flipped: For the first time, more Americans say that protecting gun rights is more important than controlling gun ownership, 52% to 46%.
This is a great development. What is responsible for it?
The article at Pew doesn’t make much sense to me. Its first explanation is that people are more pro-gun because the Republican Party has become more pro-gun. But how is that an explanation? The Republican Party wants to win elections. If they are shifting to a more pro-gun stance isn’t it likely that they are doing so because the voters are doing so?
The other reason they offer is the perception that crime is increasing. People believe that guns keep them safer by allowing them to protect themselves. But the article also admits that, in the past, people wanted more gun control because they were worried about crime. The relationship between worrying about crime and supporting or opposing gun control has completely flipped.
The article does not address the issue at all. But without figuring out how that change in reasoning took place, there is no way to figure out why people now favor the Second Amendment.
My guess is that there are two factors. First, gun proponents have persuaded more people that relying on gun control to keep them safe is silly and dangerous. The case has been made sufficiently to change hearts and minds.
Second, the propaganda blitz that began with Sandy Hook has not persuaded people about the need for gun control. Instead, the government’s blitz has frightened people and made them want to “cling” to their guns, as our President would say.
What I hope is that this shift in public opinion represents other changes in our political culture. When you affirm the right and duty of people to take care of themselves, rather than be protected by others, you start a train of thought that can lead you a long way from Statism.