A new Gallup poll released Monday revealed that almost half of Americans think the federal government poses “an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens.”
Gallup conducted a survey Sept. 9-13 and found that 49 percent of Americans think government is a problem, while 49 percent also do not think government poses that threat. There was no indication in the Gallup report about the percentage of gun owners who see government as a threat, but the firearms community in general does not think it has any friends in the current administration.
And there was something else buried in the report from Gallup: “The most frequently mentioned specific threats involve gun control laws and violations of the Second Amendment to the Constitution, mentioned by 12% who perceive the government to be an immediate threat.”
That much will be obvious this weekend at the 30th annual Gun Rights Policy Conference in Phoenix. The Sept. 25-27 event is co-sponsored by the Second Amendment Foundation and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and it is something of a magnet for gun rights advocates and organizations.
The theme of this weekend’s event is “Preserve Freedom.” Examiner will be reporting from Phoenix over the weekend. The agenda features state and federal affairs briefings, a discussion on 3-D printing, global gun control efforts, Second Amendment legal actions and more.
Gun owners not only don’t trust government, they’re not too keen on the mainstream press. That consensus will likely not be changed with today’s on-line release of an article in The Nation, apparently scheduled for print release next month, that declares the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts has “undermined sensible gun control” with its rulings in the 2008 Heller and 2010 McDonald cases that affirmed the Second Amendment protects a fundamental individual right to keep and bear arms.
That opinion piece was authored by Dorothy Samuels, senior fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice and a former member of the New York Times editorial board. She sides with the minority dissent to Heller, written by former Justice John Paul Stevens, as being the correct opinion in that landmark case.
But Samuels overlooks the obvious. Stevens and his three fellow dissenters were the losers. The Stevens dissent was just that, a losing opinion in a high court case that affirmed an individual right to have a gun that goes beyond militia service. Like it or not, the individual rights argument prevailed.
Writing for the majority on page 49 of the Heller opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia criticized Stevens for placing “overwhelming reliance upon this Court’s decision in United States v. Miller,” a 1939 ruling that has been both misunderstood and misrepresented for decades by gun prohibitionists. They have insisted that the Miller ruling defined the Second Amendment as protective only of a state’s right to form a militia.
“Nothing so clearly demonstrates the weakness of JUSTICE STEVENS’ case,” Scalia wrote. “Miller did not hold that and cannot possibly be read to have held that.”
Returning to the Gallup poll results, Gallup noted that the level of distrust in the federal government was “similar to what was found in previous surveys conducted over the last five years.” This is one that the Obama administration has to own; it cannot be blamed on George W. Bush.
Gallup noted that “Democratic-leaning independents were consistently more likely than Republicans and Republican-leaning independents to say the federal government posed an immediate threat. By contrast, across the four most recent surveys conducted during the Democratic Obama administration, the partisan gap flipped, with Republicans significantly more likely to agree.”
But this isn’t just political partisanship at work. Another poll, this one released by Rasmussen yesterday, shows overwhelming public opposition to an Obama administration plan to allow tens of thousands of Syrian and Middle East refugees into the country by 2017.
Rasmussen Reports said that 49 percent of likely voters do not want the government to allow refugees from Syria or other Middle Eastern nations into this country. The survey revealed that “72% of voters…are concerned that giving thousands of Syrians asylum poses a national security risk to the United States, with 47% who are Very Concerned.”
Barack Obama came into office promising “hope and change.” Millions of Americans appear to have lost hope because of the changes. And just under half of those Americans, according to the Gallup poll, now think the government poses a threat to their liberty.
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