This week, Gallup released the results of a poll which included a finding that should surprise no one: Americans oppose a ban on AR-15s and similar semiautomatic firearms by robust a margin of 17%. Meanwhile, current support for such a ban is 7% lower than the historical trend dating back to 1996, when Gallup first began polling on the issue. Americans, in other words, appear not to have been swayed by the intense media editorializing, celebrity pontificating, and youthful activism of the past year aimed at prohibiting what are by all accounts the most popular types of rifles in the country.
Of course, even in America, you could probably find people who would claim to support a ban on apple pie. It’s not very nutritious, they might say. It’s regressive, others might insist. Americans, after all, have the right to their opinions, even the unpopular ones.
When it comes to guns, the minority opinion is strongest among people who identify as Democrats. Gallup’s latest poll shows 56% of Democrats would support a ban on semiautomatic rifles, 16% above the national average. That is more than twice the percentage of Republicans (25%) who responded the same way. But even among Democrats, support for a semiauto ban has fallen 7 points since this time last year, notwithstanding the fact that some pundits were predicting that 2018 would finally be the year when banning highly popular guns would somehow become a winning political issue.
So what has all the “game-changing” post-Parkland grandstanding accomplished in the last eight months?
When it comes to banning guns, apparently nothing.
And it’s not just us who think so.
No one individual has shoveled more bad money into the gun control cause than billionaire Michael Bloomberg. In fact his insistence on burning huge sums of money on the issue for minimal returns almost makes you wonder how he ever got so rich in the first place.
But even he seems to understand the reality of the current situation.
According to an article in the Washington Times, Everytown for Gun Safety – the umbrella group for Bloomberg’s gun control activism – has actually shifted its midterm election spending into “ads covering abortion, health care and the Republican tax bill – but nary a mention of assault rifles … . “
Commenting for the article, gun control advocate Adam Winkler mused, “Perhaps the gun issue has waned a bit in the absence of highly publicized mass shootings in the past few months.”
And that, of course, is the irony of the gun ban movement: it needs the very events it claims to want to prevent for anyone to pay attention to it.
Even then, however, that attention and intensity typically prove to be short-lived.
Hyping other issues, of course, does not actually signal a retreat by Everytown from its gun control agenda. Rather, it’s a recognition that gun controllers will have to buy votes and politicians by other means to force their prohibitionist views downward on the American people, rather than using those views to inspire people to support their candidates in the first place.
In other words, it’s pretty much the opposite of a true grassroots approach.
Take, for example, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), who was embarrassed this week by the release of audio recordings catching her and her staffers admitting that they conceal or downplay her true positions on issues like gun control in order to mislead voters on the positions she will take once elected.
All this is exactly why NRA-ILA – a true grassroots organization – is dedicated to ensuring that voters know exactly what they’re getting when it comes to the Second Amendment views of political candidates.
You might even say we try to make it as easy as pie … apple pie, of course.