Gun Control

Public Support for "Assault Weapon" Ban Hits All-Time Low

Past and present history give no reason to believe there'd be any public safety benefit to such a ban.

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Last December, the most powerful print media voice on this here planet Earth (or so they believe), The New York Times, ran a nearly unprecedented front page editorial calling for a ban and buyback/confiscation of that ill-defined category of "assault rifle." (See my commentary at the time, "New York Times Calls for Immense Expense and Political Civil War To Maybe Possibly Hopefully Reduce Gun Violence by a Tiny Amount.")

The Times believed "Certain kinds of weapons, like the slightly modified combat rifles used in California, must be outlawed for civilian ownership. It is possible to define those guns in a clear and effective way and, yes, it would require Americans who own those kinds of weapons to give them up for the good of their fellow citizens."

What effect did the Times's pulling out their biggest rhetorical weapon against those popular weapons have on popular opinion regarding such weapons?

Gallup

Sorry, Times. A Gallup poll conducted earlier this month and released today finds "In U.S., Support for Assault Weapons Ban at Record Low."

The details:

The fewest Americans in 20 years favor making it illegal to manufacture, sell or possess semi-automatic guns known as assault rifles. Thirty-six percent now want an assault weapons ban, down from 44% in 2012 and 57% when Gallup first asked the question in 1996….

Two years after President Bill Clinton signed a federal assault weapons ban in 1994, Gallup found that a solid majority of Americans favored such a ban. By the time the 10-year ban expired in 2004, Americans were evenly divided. And by 2011, public opinion had tilted against the assault weapons ban, with 53% opposed and 43% in favor. In Gallup's 2016 Crime poll, conducted Oct. 5-9, opposition now exceeds support by 25 percentage points, 61% to 36%.

This is certainly an example of common sense on voters' part, realizing that both the past (when we had for a decade a meaningless-in-stopping-crime ban on a set of such weapons) and the present (when as of 2014 such weapons are involved in fewer homicides than are bare hands and feet) give no weight to the notion that any public safety good would come from such a ban.

I had what many correspondents felt was the bad luck to have a book review appear in The American Conservative called "Gun Control RIP" right after the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting in 2012. (It was written before the shooting.) Surely, many told me, that vividly horrific public reminder that people can use guns to commit hideous crimes will mean that politically gun control is back in a big way, putting the lie to my review.

I stand by the review, for most of the reasons contained in it. 2012 had already been a year of many prominent and horrific public mass shootings; but as I wrote, "Americans have come to understand that such acts are still quite rare. More to the point, no imaginable public-policy solution will keep the occasional deranged criminal from doing evil with weapons."

Jesse Walker reported for Reason back in 2014 on how after spikes in public upset over guns after publicized shooting murders, the mean of support for gun control seems to be falling lately to lower averages than it had been before the spike.

NEXT: Is There Time/Candidate Enough for Obamacare Implosion to Be a Factor in the Election?

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  1. I had what many correspondents felt was the bad luck to have a book review appear in The American Conservative called “Gun Control RIP” right after the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting in 2012. (It was written before the shooting.) Surely, many told me, that vividly horrific public reminder that people can use guns to commit hideous crimes will mean that politically gun control is back in a big way, putting the lie to my review

    2012 was the year that the American public was supposed to finally bow to gun control. The gun grabbers had it in spades. A pile of toddler corpses to dance on and spew their agenda loud and proud. They finally had it. A psychopath finally used an “assault rifle” to kill a school full of children. The gun grabbers were so happy. Nothing better could have happened in their eyes.

    Small successes were made. The NY SAFE act was passed in the middle of the night and then largely ignored, but they failed. It brought me joy to know that the hypocritical, elitest, insulated, left was defeated on at least this issue. The way the left was so quick to jump on and rejoice over the killing of children showed me without a doubt their true moral bankruptcy. Their glee was sickening.

    1. passed in the middle of the night and then largely ignored

      This is a feature, not a bug. The gun grabbers love that thousands are making themselves felons. Sooner or later one of those persons will involved in something public with a banned feature/magazine, even if it’s otherwise lawful self defense and gun grabbers will swoop in and pound that point.

      They aren’t looking to ban guns overnight, and they’ve learned from the gun rights side to grab where they can at any level of government when they can and turn the ratchet. See Washington, Oregon, and Colorado. All three that were historically very gun friendly, more than many red states, and as political sands shift, the gun grabbers have taken advantage of it. Big, national stage events such as NYT or Clinton calling for gun control is a smokescreen, meanwhile Michael “I love my armed bodyguards and go fuck yourselves” Bloomberg is happy to spend his billions on local and state campaigns to push the needle. Successfully too.

      1. Washington? Where every sheriff but I think two have declared the new BloomingIdiotLaw will not be enforced in their county? The ONLY difference it has made is that private sales at gun shows are fewer than they used to be. Many refuse to pay for the NICS check, so won’t buy at the show… but a LOT of trades happen off the site later. I do not know anyone who has bothered to do the BGC on a private sale. And I know a bunch of folks who would not hesistate to ignore the Bloomie Law if they came across a gun they wanted.
        We still need to make it go away, though. We shall see what happens in our legislative elections in a couple weeks. There is a good chance we’ll be able to “own” both chambers, and the Lt Gov as well.

    2. Ah, progs. If they believed in moral standards, they could at least aspire to hypocrisy. As it is, they regard themselves as superior precisely *because* they have no moral standards. You can’t be a hypocrite if you set no rules for yourself.

    3. I remember Obama’s tantrum after the gun control bill died. (It was a couple of days after the Boston Marathon bombings, but before we learned about Boston Weak.) This was the one where he said something to the effect of, “If these regulations could save the life of one child, don’t we have an obligation to try?” And that was the day that I immediately realized the proper response is, “If rounding children up and concentrating them in camps where only responsible, government-approved adults are looking after them could save the life of even one child, don’t we have an obligation to try?”

      1. So you’re saying you hate children.

        1. I operate under the assumption that everyone does. Children are the worst. Doesn’t change Ted’s point though.

        2. no, but the kinyun certainly does… else he’d not make such horrid use of them to advance HIS illegal agenda.

  2. There’s a study out there begging to be done on what the assault weapon bans and the threat of more have done to the acceptability and proliferation of the AR-15. I still hear old timers talk about the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994, when you couldn’t buy a lower or a magazine holding more than ten rounds.

    But even as overall gun ownership has gone down as a percentage of American households, the percentage of people who own AR-15s and (maybe more importantly) the number of people who support our right to own them has never been higher?

    If the progressives would just STFU about assault weapons for a few election cycles, AR-15 might fade in popularity. I keep hearing that it’s the most popular rifle sold in America. There’s something wonderful about Americans who never wanted to do [insert whatever] until the government started telling us we couldn’t or shouldn’t.

    Puts a tear in my eye.

    And I’m proud to be an American
    Where at least I know I’m free
    And I won’t forget the men who died
    Who gave that right to me

    And I gladly stand up
    Next to you and defend her still today
    Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land
    God bless the USA.

    *fireworks*

    1. I own guns and never really cared for the ar15. I like something with power. More in the .30 caliber range. I never would have bought one if it weren’t for the constant demonization of it. I bought one because fuck them. It sits in my safe. I probably haven’t put 100 rounds through it.

      1. caliber =/= power

      2. Terminal effectiveness is a complicated area. There are combat medics who will tell you you really do not want to get hit with .223/5.56 inside of 100 meters where it fragments reliably.

      3. great barter piece is the ship DOES hit the span….. SOMEONE will go nuts over that and part with nearly anything to get it. Great move… one of the best hedges against inflation one can find. If I had the money I’d be buying them by the pallet.

        1. and even more pallets of the ammunition for them. All types.

    2. “But even as overall gun ownership has gone down as a percentage of American households…”

      It isn’t actually clear that this is the case. There is plenty of contradictory data.

      Some interesting reading:

      NSSF: Gun Ownership Declining? Don’t Believe It

      Quote:
      An NSSF survey of firearms retailers indicates nearly 25 percent of gun owners are first-time buyers?that is, they have purchased their first firearm within the last five years. Additionally, research shows these new enthusiasts are younger, female and urban/suburban based?all welcome trends for target shooting, hunting and firearm ownership?trends we think are not captured or quantified by GSS takers who come knocking at your door.

      1. Also:

        Declining Gun Ownership? Sloppy Reporting Strikes Again

        Quote:
        Unlike many surveys conducted anonymously online or over the phone, the GSS is conducted in-person in the respondent’s home. Obviously, having a stranger who just knocked on your door ask “do you own a gun?” will lead to major under-reporting by respondents. Clearly, many gun owners would be unwilling to disclose the presence of valuable firearms to a GSS interviewer. Speaking frankly about guns in such a situation is about as likely as telling someone walking by on the street about owning expensive jewelry or heirloom silver.

        Gallup has been asking survey respondents anonymously over the phone about gun ownership for many decades. When one views Gallup’s results over time, no decline is taking place. In fact, Gallup’s trend-line on this question illustrates that gun ownership has remained fairly constant over the past two decades, if not longer.

    3. But even as overall gun ownership has gone down as a percentage of American households, the percentage of people who own AR-15s and (maybe more importantly) the number of people who support our right to own them has never been higher

      WHAT induced you to drink the KoolAde? Percentage of gun ownership gone DOWN relative to households? Are you crazy? Ten years ago I could not think of more than a half dozen others I know who owned guns. Now, same circle of friends mostly, I know a couple hundred. And I’ve personally helped a few of them get started. First time gun buyers are at an all time high in gross numbers AND percentage of the population.

      1. The reason the AR is so popular….. several, actually. They are fun, and relatively cheap to shoot. They are compact, “handy”, maneouvreable. Reasonally accurate at close range. Not so great for long, though, but most aren’t interested in that. Little felt recoil. Especially when compared to the venerable .30/06, the standard for decades, no, more like a century. And many enjoy the fact that you can “play” with them, adding, and changing “stuff” to make them unique, personal, whatever. (no, I don’t own one. I’m not crazy about them, they feel ungainly to me Oh I know, if I get one and begin to shoot it a fair bit I’ll GET comfortable with it.

        No, there are good reasons the MSR is the most popular long gun on the market today. And its here to stay. Personaly if I were looking for a “ship hit the span” rifle I’d not choose the AR platform. I think I’d rather have a much longer range rifle…. something capable of a thousand yards or more if I am so capable. And then still have plenty of smack at that range.

  3. The NRA’s “Freedom’s Safest Place” campaign is working splendidly.

    They’re more popular than Obama

  4. Please, Donks, continue to run on this.

  5. I suspect its because so many kids grew up playing call of duty.

    Hell, i want a “Honey Badger” too.

    1. *clicks link, heads for bunk*

  6. What effect did the Times’s pulling out their biggest rhetorical weapon against those popular weapons have on popular opinion regarding such weapons?

    What effect did the Times’s pulling out their biggest rhetorical weapon against those popular weapons have on popular opinion regarding such “newspapers”?

  7. Double post; just back from dinner and missed the new thread.
    ———————-
    Prosecutors act as it they are capable of judgement!:

    “SF filmmaker Kevin Epps says deadly shooting was ‘self-defense'”
    http://www.sfgate.com/news/art…..415771.php

    Altercation in a home; ‘visitor’ shot dead. Owner is an ex-con, barred from gun ownership. DA (right now) bringing no charges as ‘self defense is sufficient to override any gun prohibition’.
    I’m guessing that bringing charges would drag pro-A-2 attorneys out of the wood-work and involve a long and losing case for the SF DA.

    1. I’m guessing even in SF it might be hard to find a jury willing to convict.

      There’s also the issue of a locking up a former felon was actually rehabilitated, and turned his life around. The good kind of ex-con, who served their time, and should be allowed to vote, have a good job, a family and all the other accoutrements of success. Just not gun ownership.

      Actually trying to prosecute him on the just the gun charge would bring down a perfect shit storm of 2A groups and compassionate progs who like laws so long as they don’t affect favored people.

    2. Thanks for that story.

      The 2nd Amendment does not allow for any prohibitions for firearms possession. Barring ex-cons was just a politically safe way to keep guns out of the hands of black folks because they tended to be ex-cons.

      1. Barring ex-cons was just a politically safe way to keep guns out of the hands of black folks because they tended to be ex-cons.

        Are you aware of any disparate impact studies of gun laws?

      2. I bring that up with all those people who mention ‘common sense’ guns laws, and how if they were such ‘common sense’ Democrats would have Amended the Constitution to change the obvious and clear wording that allows for no such thing, reasonable or otherwise.

        The fact Democrats have not done that, even with a large enough majority to have realistically done so, is indicative that they want this as a divide issue and have no real intentions of going through the proper channels. At best, they want to keep the issue alive to drive voting. At worst, they know they would lose power in amending the Constitution (since there would be massive pushback from owners, not to mention the ‘how’ of getting them away from citizens.) and intend to pursue backroom deals and legislation to effectively repeal the amendment without due process.

        For some reason, this line of argumentations tends to shut them up. They aren’t used to arguing issues like this from the perspective of ‘I agree with you, but why don’t they actually do the thing they say they want to do’ perspective. Once you take TEAM! out of most issues, these idiots don’t really have anything left to say.

        And no, I don’t agree with them at all. But you must remove TEAM! or you will get a constant flow of logical fallacies out of their faces. It forces them into the position of ‘yeah, ok, you caught us. We don’t think there should be a constitution at all’ more times than not, revealing them what they are.

      3. The 2nd Amendment Constitution does not allow for

        Fixed it for you. Even without the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution, it still doesn’t allow for any prohibitions. You would need to create an amendment to explicitly allow it. This is why a constitutional amendment was necessary to ban alcohol.

        The Bill of Rights is just an example list of things the government is not allowed to do, it doesn’t really grant any special rights to anyone. It says so right there in the pre-amble and the 9th and 10th Amendments.

        The Constitution is a list of things that government is allowed to do and legislate on, as well as the procedures for doing these things. Government is technically not allowed to do anything the Constitution doesn’t explicitly allow for.

        Of course widespread apathy, idiocy, and amorality among the people will stretch these principles quite a bit.

      4. The 2nd amendment has NO reference to “FIREarms”. It DOES have reference to “A well-regulated militia”.

        Do the math.

        1. Do the math.

          It’s pretty easy to read what it says, no math or interpretation is required. Picking out specific words and destroying the literal and historical context is nothing but sophistry.

          Regardless, the 2nd Amendment doesn’t actually grant anyone any rights. It’s meant to be an extra barrier to creating a new amendment that would allow infringement upon people’s pre-existing right to keep and bear arms; of which fireARMS is a subgroup.

          Presuming that anything not mentioned in the Constitution is carte blanche to do what you want is not understanding how a constitution works, or even what it is. If the government wants a specific new power, that is not already granted by the people via the Constitution, America has to go through the process of ratifying a new amendment in order for the people to agree to grant that new power to the government.

          For instance the power to ban alcohol, or collect taxes. Those things were not mentioned in the Constitution, so why was it necessary to ratify amendments to do them?

  8. So on MSLSD they were clucking their tongues about a nutty black Trump supporter who has a criminal record. Funny, they never gave a shit about Bill Ayers or Jeremiah Wright.

    Then they segued into a montage of Hillary dancing and talking about the GOP’s fun deficit.

    1. Hey, is Van Jones chopped liver?

      1. Sounds like a good start.

    2. As it turns out, GodS2.com is the website of a religious movement that focuses on issues such as “Rockerfeller is Nimrod King of The Canaanites & SAUD The King Of The Ishmaelites Masonic Illuminati Trilateralist Big Banks KKK.”

      The group’s homepage shows a picture that it claims shows Hillary Clinton in blackface (it doesn’t) and the late Sen. Robert Byrd in Ku Klux Klan robes (also false), along with praise for a man named “Prince Michael Symonette.”

      “He has several websites, including MichaelWarns.com and MichaelDefeatsSatan.com,Gods2.com, and MichaelsVictory.com, all of which promote his book, ‘written primarily to show the BLACK MAN, and the WORLD the true source of their problem, 33% of the BLACK WOMEN of AMERICA (BABYLON),'” write Jocelyn Fong and Solange Uwimana of Media Matters. “The cover of the book declares that Oprah Winfrey is ‘the devil’ and ‘Obama is the beast 666, given power by the dragon (serpent), Oprah.'”

      1. I thought in order to get a website promoted at a Trump event you had to pay one of the contenders to write the URL on their back?

  9. Movie Pitch:

    Jeb Bush, Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, and Carly Fiorina wander into a wardrobe during a cocktail party and are transported into the magical land of Rinornia. There, Jeb is captured by the White Witch and her sneering, evil dwarf. Meanwhile, the others meet with Trumpslan, a magical lion who is the only being capable of defeating the White Witch. Trumpslan sacrifices himself to save Jeb, but returns from the dead at the final battle and slays the White Witch by grabbing her by the pussy. Trumpslan then forces the defeated goblins to build a wall on the border of Rinornia before deporting them.

    1. Does he need to come back from the dead?

    2. So, Star Wars: The Force Awakens?

    3. Trumpslan sacrifices himself to save Jeb

      You lost me there. It was so plausible until that.

      1. I would modify the ending to where a work crew finds the old wardrobe and tosses it into a fire. That inadvertently leads universal human harmony. Then they all start singing, “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke”.

      2. Who cares about plausibility in a porn flick?

        -jcr

    4. Have your people call my people, we’ll get this done within the week.

      -jcr

  10. That change is pretty drastic. At least correlates with the crime rate. Surprising though, given all the anti-gun rhetoric recently and the mass shootings.

  11. Uh-oh. Clinton’s campaign manager is looking a little worried
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1GmNk0mvSA

    The pants-shitting is going to be so epic.

    1. Ha, ha! That asshole left comments open. Let’s see how long it takes before some minion gets around to deleting mine:

      Hillary is a goddamned criminal, and the Democratic party should be ashamed of nominating her. She’s the only one who could possibly lose to trump. The last reasonable prospect you had was Jim Webb, but your motherfucking bootlicking media cronies blanked him out.

      If we end up with President Trump, at least half of the blame will be due to Hillary and her black hole sized ego. Fuck you all.

      -jcr?

      1. Well done JCR, well done.

    2. Supposedly there are 45 comments, but they’re not showing up on my browser. Is it Adblock-related?

      1. I don’t see any either

  12. The link to the Gallup poll is broken and needs to be corrected. The correct link is here:

    Gallup 2016: In U.S., Support for Assault Weapons Ban at Record Low

    1. “I see your privilege and raise”

  13. The link which had been bad has now been fixed if you refresh.

    1. Brian, at least thank KP.

  14. Back in 94, most people believed that an “assault weapon” was a machine gun. These days, a lot of people know better.

    -jcr

    1. Funny, the 2nd Amendment says nothing about exceptions for machine guns, assault weapons, silencers, etc to be prohibited.

      1. No exceptions for swords nor nunchuks either. What’s up with THAT?

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  16. If Clinton wins we’ll still get a ban via EO. She’s a crusader and religious fanaticism isn’t easily swayed by public opinion.

  17. Jesse Walker reported for Reason back in 2014 on how after spikes in public upset over guns after publicized shooting murders, the mean of support for gun control seems to be falling lately to lower averages than it had been before the spike.

    Has anyone updated that chart since then?

  18. Decisions decisions.

    Do I get some AR parts before the election.
    Or do I wait

    I can’t help but think there will be another run on everything firearm related again if her highness is crowned.

  19. Considering that the alledged perpetrator of the Scammy Crooks Shooting had committed some forty felonies between the time he got out of bed and the time he arrived at that school (IF in fact he really DID go there…..) I wonder just WHAT new law these bleeding heart liberal nutjobs think could possibly have prevented this alledged event? What, do they think he would have balked at commiting forty five felonies instead of forty? Maybe SIXTY? Come on….. these clowns are shooting themselves in their own feet with their meaningless and baseless drivel. How stupid do they think we are? It is, finally, beginning to appear that we aren’t half as stupid as they thought we were ten years ago….. more and more are wising up, and DOING things about it. Like buying millions of new guns. YAY!!!! Can’t have too many now, can we?

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