A new Rasmussen poll released today says that a majority of American voters are opposed to the federal government being the final authority on who can own guns.
This comes on the heels of a Gallup survey, discussed earlier by this column, that shows nearly half of Americans think the federal government is a threat to their liberty. The new Rasmussen poll was taken with 1,000 likely voters Sept. 20-21.
According to Rasmussen, only 34 percent of likely voters think the federal government should have responsibility for gun laws, while 36 percent think this is a state government responsibility. Eighteen percent believe local government should have that authority, and 12 percent were not sure, the poll said.
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Many states have preemption statutes which prevent local governments from setting their own gun laws. This includes Washington, where there is currently a lawsuit against the City of Seattle for having adopted a “gun violence tax” on the sale of firearms and ammunition to finance anti-gun programs. The Second Amendment Foundation, National Rifle Association and National Shooting Sports Foundation are all parties to that lawsuit.
Not only do many states have preemption laws, which place firearms regulation solely in the hands of the state legislature, many also have right-to-bear arms in their state constitutions. These state constitutional protections frequently contain stronger provisions on the subject of individual citizens’ rights than the Second Amendment.
The Rasmussen survey also revealed that most Americans do not like the idea of only allowing police and military personnel to have firearms. This is the same result Rasmussen got with a December 2014 survey. At that time, according to Rasmussen, “voters strongly believe it would be bad for the country if only police and other government officials were allowed to have guns.”
The survey was conducted by Pulse Opinion Research LLC. It has a plus/minus sampling error of three percentage points.
MEANWHILE, this Saturday is the 43rd annual National Hunting and Fishing Day, and the Washington Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus is encouraging sportsmen and women to celebrate the outdoors tradition. State Sen. Pam Roach, a caucus leader and member of the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses noted in an e-mail this morning that outdoor recreation provides an estimated $22.5 billion to the Evergreen State economy.
A lot of that money comes from hunters and anglers, who are presently enjoying early autumn activities that include big game archery hunting, grouse and rabbit hunting, with black powder and general modern firearm seasons on the horizon. Money they spend on firearms and ammunition contributes to the Pittman-Robertson federal Wildlife Restoration program that was started in the late 1930s.
This fund is managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and it has pumped billions of dollars into wildlife management. In 2014, for example, states received shares of $760,973,830 in revenue from the P-R program. This comes from a special excise tax on the sale of guns and ammunition.
For Fiscal Year 2015, Washington State received $15,239,993 in wildlife funds, according to figures from USFWS. Texas received the biggest apportionment of more than $37.5 million.
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