What Happened to Gun Control After Newtown?

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The Waning Days of the NRA's Power?

Yale law professor Dan Kahan has persuasively argued that the reason why we seem like two ships passing in the night when debating gun issues is because people disagree about the facts, as they see them:

Gun-control proponents argue that greater restrictions will promote public safety by reducing gun violence and accidents, while gun-control opponents argue that such restrictions will diminish public safety on net by rendering innocent persons unable to defend themselves from violent criminals. We hypothesized that individuals' cultural worldviews would determine which of these empirical claims they accept.

And Kahan's hypothesis turned out to be correct: one's cultural worldview -- hierarchical, individualist, egalitarian, solidaristic -- explained, more than any other variable (e.g., conservative, liberal, gun owner, from the South, black, white & c.), how one viewed the "facts" of gun control.

But after Adam Lanza -- who almost certainly suffered from some form of mental illness -- killed 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newton, Connecticut, some sort of gun control measure seemed sure to come out of Congress. The most promising measure appeared to extending background checks beyond their current reach:

Extending background checks to firearms purchases at gun shows and over the Internet, with the aim of making it harder for felons and the mentally ill to acquire weapons, remains popular and not just among liberals. According to a CBS News/New York Times poll taken in the days after the Biden meeting, 92 percent of Americans favored universal background checks. A poll conducted by the Republican pollster Frank Luntz indicated that there was 74 percent approval among self-identified N.R.A. members -- in keeping with the 77 percent approval in a survey of hunters commissioned by the Bull Moose Sportsmen's Alliance.

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2 comments
1911flash
1911flash

Until the government does their job and keeps the criminal in jail we will continue to have the same problems. When a active shooter goes on the rampage with the idea to kill and then kill them selves there is no law that will work and only put the law abiding in jeopardy!  The talk about common since but the never use it to stop the problem.  How can you use the threat of jail on a man that intends to kill him self? We need to keep out tax dollars at home and build the prisons we need to lock up the criminals that continue to commit crimes. The  last Colorado shooter was stopped by a good guy with a gun. Get good guys with a gun in all schools, it's the only way!

Puller58
Puller58

The trick to the debate is both sides have holes the size of the moon in their arguments.  The Second Amendment exists to protect liberty regardless of how it might sound.  The other side of the debate is that more guns only increase the chances more people will be shot.  Andrew Sullivan still has the best take on the issue in my estimation.

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