After Washington state voters passed an initiative imposing background checks on people willing to subject even their private and largely untraceable transaction to goverment scrutiny, opponents of self-defense rights proclaimed that they've found a new path into the future. Hayley Zachary, the executive director of of Americans for Responsible Solutions, announced that the voters of Washington "did what our country's leaders in Washington, D.C. have not had the courage to do."
Nevermind that Alabama voters went the other way, and amended their state constitution to shield gun rights from easy restriction. That, apparently, isn't a courageous voter move at all.
But the brave new world of voter-empowered gun control faces another hurdle that reaches beyond the boundaries of the Cotton State. It turns out that growing numbers of Americans believe having guns in their homes makes them safer, while declining numbers consider the practice dangerous. The cultural shift has been ongoing for years, and across partisan divides.
In 2014, reports Gallup, 63 percent of Americans consider having guns at home to make them safer, compared to 35 percent in 2000. Only 30 percent say that makes their homes more dangerous, down from 51 percent in 2000. Republicans have seen the greatest increase in support for the idea that guns make you safer, from 44 percent to 81 percent. But Independents increased their support for that idea from 35 percent to 64 percent. Democratic support rose from 28 percent to 41 percent.
Gun controllers may win an occasional ballot box victory imposing some restrictions on gun ownership, but Americans' opinions of what constitute "responsible solutions" when it comes to firearms aren't moving in their direction.