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April 21, 2018

Americans Not Convinced Gun Control is a Top Priority

By Larry Keane

If the mainstream media headlines were to be believed, Americans overwhelmingly support gun control as a top priority to stop the violent misuse of firearms by criminals.

Survey data reveals a reality that contradicts the media narrative. Just this week, a new Gallup poll showed that only 6 percent of Americans point to gun control and gun violence as a top concern. Despite all the headlines and despite recent tragedies that have spurred much attention to guns, rather than to the obvious problems of mental health and criminal justice, Americans do not buy into the story told by news outlets.

Most Democrats Don’t See Top Concern

Even among Democrats, gun control ranks as a top concern for only 8 percent of them. Many gun control advocates have pointed to the Parkland tragedy as a tipping point for their campaigns to add more restrictions on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners, seizing on the incident to raise money and as a political talking point. Yet, comparing the April survey results to those from a March Gallup survey, mentions of guns or gun control fell by over half.

Americans Largely Don’t Blame the Gun

Perhaps Americans aren’t convinced by the irrational vilification of guns or by calls to ban guns with certain cosmetic features. Or maybe enough Americans see the successful passage of bipartisan federal legislation to address the very real gaps in the FBI’s background check system as an effective tool to fix the real problems, rather than attack the Second Amendment.

The firearms industry has long spearheaded efforts on the state level to “Fix NICS” and strongly supported the new federal law, sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), to ensure that all relevant prohibiting records are entered into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Every federally licensed retailer (FFL) must run a background check before transferring a gun to an individual. Whether in a store or at a gun show, FFLs depend on the NICS database to be complete and accurate. The Fix NICS Act, signed into law on March 23, will help make sure that is the case.

While these types of effective laws are put into place and while gun crimes continue to be prosecuted under the Trump administration, the media will continue to play their old scripts about guns and support for restricting the rights of law-abiding Americans. As the survey shows however, this message is far from the reality for most Americans.


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