Just as anti-gun advocates are happily misconstruing the Supreme Court’s recent decision not to hear a case challenging a local ban on popular semi-automatic firearms as pointing to a way forward for gun control, available evidence shows that the American people reject such measures in record numbers.
Last week we brought attention to a New York Times/ CBS News poll conducted December 4-8, which asked, “[d]o you favor or oppose a nationwide ban on assault weapons?” Only 44-percent of respondents supported a new ban, while 50-percent opposed. Support for a ban was down more than 30-percent, from a high of 76-percent observed in an August 1999 CBS poll.
This week, ABC News and the Washington Post had more bad news for gun controllers. A poll conducted for the two news outlets on December 13, asked survey takers, “[w]ould you support or oppose a law requiring a nationwide ban on the sale of assault weapons? Do you feel that way strongly or somewhat?” 45-percent of respondents answered that they support such a ban, while a majority – 53-percent stand opposed.
In what can certainly be viewed as an indictment of the major gun control organizations, and a vindication of NRA’s work to educate the public, the current numbers stand in stark contrast to those observed in June 1994 when 80-percent of survey takers supported a ban.
On the off chance Hillary Clinton is more interested in appealing to voters than spouting anti-gun rhetoric, she could learn much from the poll’s findings. Hillary, who has contemplated confiscation of semi-automatic firearms, might be interested to learn that even 55-percent of independents are opposed to a ban in this latest poll.
With numbers like these it is no wonder the most sophisticated and well-heeled gun control groups have shifted their primary focus to restricting the private transfer of firearms. While gun control supporters currently view these types of restrictions as their best chance at restricting the right to keep and bear arms, gun rights supporters should take heart in the shift in public opinion on semi-autos. This change is thanks in no small part to the tireless efforts of NRA members; and with the same determination, gun rights advocates can inform and influence public opinion on any matter of gun control going forward.