A few days ago, a tape surfaced of President Obama giving a speech at Loyola University on October 19, 1998. Among other hot-button topics, the issue of gun control was brought up during the address.
“The vast majority of Americans would like to see serious gun control. It does not pass. Why does it not pass?” the then-Illinois State Senator Obama rhetorically asked his audience.
“It does not pass because there is a huge disconnect between what people think and what legislators think and are willing to act upon,” he answered.
These comments raise an obvious question: do Americans overwhelmingly support gun control?
On Monday, during his radio show, conservative pundit Rush Limbaugh challenged that premise. He told his listeners the following:
So in Obama’s world, the American people wanted gun control but elected officials didn’t. And that’s why we didn’t have it. It’s the other way around. Every president — every Democrat president, Democrat senator, Democrat House of Representatives member, they’ve all wanted gun control. It’s the people that don’t want it and never have. Not the kind of gun control these guys are talking about. Anyways, that’s Obama. He said it. Not I.
As pointed out by the Daily Caller there were polls that demonstrated public support for gun control, circa 1998. But even so, it was probably a stretch to quantify those findings as a “vast majority” who support “serious” gun control measures.
What about in 2012? Do a “vast majority” of Americans support gun control?
As Guns.com has discussed in the past, at first glance, this is a difficult question to answer because polls are often created to skew participants’ answers to fit the agenda of the political organization funding the survey (Frank Luntz’s Mayor’s Against Illegal Guns survey is a great example of this).
As we all know, buzzwords like “assault weapons,” “crime guns,” “illegal guns,” “gun show loophole,” “cop-killer bullets,” etc. are frequently used in the poll questions to confuse the public about the issues (this has always been the case, but it seems to be happening now with greater frequency). So, it’s not surprising when one examines a poll and finds that a majority of participants are in favor of banning “assault weapons” or “cop-killer bullets” or “crime guns,” etc.
But even with this coded language being used, there are polls from non-political sources that outright debunk the notion that a vast majority of the public favors stricter gun laws or serious reform. The 2011 Gallup poll comes to mind (to view all the findings, click here):
Here’s an overall summary:
What really interests me though, is not whether the public currently favors gun control, but whether it should favor gun control.
And the answer to this question is quite clear, especially to any objective and open-minded individual. I’ve made this point before and I’ll continue to make it until a vast majority gets it. It’s really simple. In fact, here it is visually represented, in two graphs:
Concealed Carry Expansion
(I did a bad job cropping this graph, to see the full thing click here).
The conclusion? It’s pretty obvious, isn’t it?
In 2012, there are more guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens than ever before, the Assault Weapons Ban has long expired, ‘Stand Your Ground Laws’ are being ratified all across the country and crime continues to drop – all of which begs the question, why would any rational person support a law that restricts the right of responsible citizens to keep and bear arms?