Why are gun rights supporters worried about bans on so-called assault weapons?

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

For First Time in 20 Years, Majority of Americans Side With Pro-Gun Advocates on Divisive Issue.

Most Americans are now opposed to a ban on so-called assault weapons – for the first time in 20 years, according to a new national poll from ABC News and The Washington Post.President Barack Obama renewed his call for such a ban earlier this month, saying in a speech that the U.S. needs “to make it harder for people to buy powerful assault weapons like the ones that were used in San Bernardino.” “The increase in opposition to banning assault weapons since 2013 peaks in some groups — up 18 points among strong conservatives, 17 points among higher-income earners and 16 points in the generally more liberal Northeast. More Americans think carrying guns is a better response to terrorism than think gun control would help, according to an ABC-Washington Post survey released Wednesday.

The poll also shows that only 22 percent of Americans are confident in the government’s ability to stop a lone wolf attack, and 77 percent of Americans are skeptical. Just over half of Americans in the NYT/CBS poll said laws governing gun sales in general should be made stricter, as did 55 percent in a recent HuffPost/YouGov poll. That’s the highest level of support for weapons since 1994, when Congress passed the sweeping Assault Weapons Ban. “President Obama’s feckless behavior has destroyed people’s confidence that the government can protect them from terrorism,” Mr. According to the poll findings, just a few groups, including people identified as liberals, Democrats, women, African-Americans, and respondents older than 56 still support a ban.

The features that are often used to distinguish them, such as bayonet lugs, barrel shrouds, and pistol grips, don’t actually make them materially deadlier. (Magazine size may be relevant to deadliness, though it’s not clear that magazine size limits are a good idea; but in any event, magazine capacity is a separate matter from assault weapons bans as such, since large magazines can fit all sorts of guns.) But, some say, if assault weapons are so similar to other guns, what’s the big deal about banning them? While there is no legal definition of an assault weapon, the term is commonly understood to refer to military-style, semi-automatic rifles, often with pistol grips and detachable magazines. Just like the minority of criminals that uses assault weapons can switch to the other guns (an argument that the bans will be futile), so law-abiding citizens can do the same (an argument that the bans won’t harm lawful self-defense). And a plurality of Americans — 47 to 42 percent — believe that prompting citizens to legally carry guns would be a better way to thwart terrorism than a ban or stricter gun control laws.

Let me offer a few explanations for why gun rights supporters are indeed so worried — you can agree with them or disagree with them, but I hope you at least conclude that they are plausible. 1. If you think that a ban would save thousands of lives, that may qualify as a strong reason; but if you think that a ban would be ineffectual, then you can oppose it on basic liberty grounds. 2. On the terrorist threat from the Islamic State in particular, 59 percent disapproved of the president’s performance. “It is unconscionable that we continue to allow military-style weapons to be bought and sold while mass shootings are growing more common,” said Rep. If some of your opponents think a restriction is good because it will lead to something much broader, you might be forgiven for taking them at their word. 3.

Similar proposals failed after the 2012 Newtown school massacre, and the new polling signals the environment has gotten worse, not better, for gun control advocates. Those numbers are reversed among those who are more confident in government counterterrorism – 56 percent favor banning such weapons, while 42 percent are opposed,” Langer notes. The ABC News/Washington Post poll surveyed 1,002 adults from Dec. 10 to 13 using live interviewers and reaching respondents through both landline and cell phones. Pratt said. “But it’s nice when you have the majority of the American public that understands why the Second Amendment is so important.” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Wednesday that advocates who favor stricter controls need to make their voices heard if they expect to see action on Capitol Hill. “We continue to believe that we will see congressional action once the intensity of the argument on the side of those who support gun safety measures has been made clear to members of Congress,” Mr. If it doesn’t seem to be working, many people don’t want to quit; they just want to try more and harder. (Consider, among other things, the first decades of the war on drugs.) Arguments against the first law often don’t work quite as well against the second and third — once the basic principle is established, further debate just seems like “haggling over the price.” And once “don’t just stand there, do something” (even when the something doesn’t seem very likely to work) is accepted as the right approach, it tends to lead to doing something else and then something more.

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