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“Consensus” isn’t grounds for gun control

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While the Bruen decision did much to protect our Second Amendment rights, there is still a grave threat to them. We’re really only a couple quirks of fate away from seeing all that we’ve gained stripped away and gun control become the norm.

As it stands right now, though, that simply cannot happen thanks to the Court’s ruling last year.

But for some, all that shouldn’t matter because of “consensus.”

The nation’s political divisions are one of the defining dynamics of our time. Reflecting on the results of the latest NBC News poll, Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt of Hart Research, who helped conduct the poll with a Republican counterpart, said last week, “The survey revealed a country on fire, seething with anger at our political leaders and too often at each other.”

But as much as Americans disagree on seemingly everything, there’s a striking public consensus on one of the nation’s biggest issues. Fox News reported last week on the results of its latest national poll.

After a series of mass shootings this spring, including the killing of several students at a private Christian school in Tennessee, voters would prefer focusing on specific gun control measures rather than arming citizens to reduce gun violence.

 

There’s no reason to see such results as an outlier: All of this polling data is consistent with similar findings from other major surveys.

What’s more, in case this isn’t obvious, the findings from Fox’s poll reinforce the fact that there’s a meaningful degree of bipartisanship on the issue. A Washington Post analysis took a closer look at the data and found, “At least two-thirds of Republicans support universal criminal background checks, a minimum age of 21, a 30-day waiting period, red-flag laws and mental health checks on gun buyers.”

The idea that GOP voters wouldn’t tolerate any significant gun reforms is plainly wrong.

There are a lot of problems with this thinking.

One is that there are profound questions regarding the Fox News poll, much like the Washington Post poll.

Far too often, we find that people say they support a policy because of the way the question is presented. “Do you support background checks for gun sales?” Most people will say yes.

But in their mind, we already have that.

When they’re asked if they support background checks before loaning a gun to their sister, their tune tends to change, which suggests they don’t actually support it to the extent we’re being told the public does.

So that consensus isn’t as strong as many would like for us to believe.

Yet even if it were, so what?

These are our rights we’re talking about here. We don’t forfeit rights on the basis of polling data. The above-linked commentary came from MSNBC’s Maddow Blog. Rachel Maddow is openly lesbian, which reminded me of the debate around gay marriage. Gay and lesbian Americans argued they had a right to get married, though the polling in the late 90s and early 2000s wasn’t exactly friendly to that argument.

Not once did someone like Maddow say they shouldn’t get the right to marry because the consensus said they shouldn’t have it.

So why does our right to keep and bear arms have to bow down to this supposed consensus when other rights don’t?

The simple answer is that they don’t.

Our right to keep and bear arms isn’t going anywhere and I don’t care what any poll says. Especially since I know how pollsters can play games with those polls to get whatever results they want.

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