A new analysis of 2013 polling data on gun control that appeared yesterday on a blog from the London School of Economics and Political Science shows a majority of Democrats favor stricter gun laws, while coincidentally this morning’s Rasmussen Reports reveals a new survey showing more Democrats think illegal immigrants should be allowed to vote.
The LSE blog, written by Kevin H. Wozniak, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Massachusetts Boston, analyzed data from a public opinion poll taken four months after Sandy Hook. The poll was conducted jointly by CBS News and The New York Times, he noted.
The result of his analysis: “…only a majority of Democrats support making gun control laws stricter. In contrast, a majority of Republicans favor making no changes to the gun control laws that are already on the books. Independents who chose not to identify with either party resembled Republicans in their answers to this question, but a larger percentage of them supported making laws more strict.”
Wozniak’s effort was to “assess whether or not the tragedy altered the common patterns of public opinion about gun control.” His conclusion: Not really.
“Even an event as tragic as the Sandy Hook shooting failed to alter the status quo of politics and public opinion about this issue,” he wrote.
Within the text he alluded to a “split across party lines” among American voters on the subject of gun control. About 74 percent of Democrats favor a ban on “semiautomatic weapons,” but only 14 percent of Republicans and 49 percent of Independents supported such a ban. His analysis showed also that 83 percent of Democrats wanted stricter gun laws at the time of the survey, while only 34 percent of Republicans did and 48 percent of Independents supported tougher laws.
On the flip side, 53 percent of Republicans and 39 percent of Independents favored keeping the gun laws as they were, but only 14 percent of Democrats were satisfied with that position.
Meanwhile, this morning’s Rasmussen Reports revealed that 53 percent of Democrats “think tax-paying illegal immigrants should have the right to vote. Twenty-one percent (21%) of Republicans and 30% of voters not affiliated with either major political party agree.”
The Rasmussen survey was conducted Wednesday and Thursday with a margin of error of plus/minus three percentage points and a 95 percent level of confidence. Field work was conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC.
Writing yesterday in the Dallas Morning News, sociologist Jennifer Carlson, author of “Citizen-Protectors: The Everyday Politics of Guns in an Age of Decline,” recently interviewed armed citizens in Michigan in an effort to understand why men feel the need to be armed. She noted, “The appeal of guns is hardly reducible to fear of crime, whether rational or irrational. I found that men — the vast majority of gun owners are men — may also carry weapons as a reaction to broader socioeconomic decline.”
There are all kinds of theories about whom and/or what is responsible for this apparent decline, but at least part of that blame game invariably centers on political parties and their social and economic policies. Illegal immigration, crime and gun control are hot-button issues in that mix.
Add to that the unrest in Baltimore, the violence in Chicago, a new threat of “lone wolf” terrorism as occurred in suburban Dallas earlier this month – and this evening’s planned demonstration by armed bikers outside of a mosque in Arizona – and you have the makings of a powder keg with an already-smoldering fuse. Tomorrow’s gun rights demonstration in Salem, Oregon to protest passage of SB941, and Tuesday’s national “Wear Orange” gun control effort pushed by anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety simply add to the melodrama.
There are myriad problems facing the nation. As Second Amendment advocate Alan Gottlieb noted yesterday in a press release discussing the troubles in Baltimore, these problems will not be solved by trampling on gun rights.
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