December 8, 2019


The 2020 Democrats and the New Politics of Gun Violence: The movement for tighter gun legislation has been revitalized, and supporting gun control is not the risk it once was. (Margaret Talbot, 12/08/19, The New Yorker)

Public support for stricter gun laws is substantial, and growing. This isn't surprising in a country as haunted as ours is by gun violence. As of December 6th, there have been more mass shootings in the United States in 2019--three hundred and ninety-one--than there have been days in the year, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a research organization that tracks these incidents. (The G.V.A. defines a mass shooting as one involving a minimum of four victims.) At the beginning of this school year, TuffyPacks, a company that makes "bullet-resistant" backpacks for schoolchildren, reported that its sales were up three hundred per cent. The C.E.O. told USA Today, "A lot of parents go, 'This is a great product and a great idea' and the other half go, 'What a sad world that we have to think about this for our children.' " And, after decades of increasing longevity, Americans are dying at younger ages, a phenomenon in which the rising number of suicides--made possible, in many cases, by easy access to guns--plays a key role.

Despite the relentless efforts of special-interest groups such as the National Rifle Association to defeat virtually any gun regulation, many Americans will no longer accept a brittle and suspect interpretation of the Second Amendment at the expense of human lives. A Fox News poll taken in August, after the killings in El Paso and Dayton, showed that two-thirds of Americans favor a ban on assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons. In a survey of likely 2020 voters, conducted earlier in the summer by the polling group GQR, more than one in four said that their views on guns had changed during the past five years, and, of those, seventy-eight per cent said that they had shifted toward stronger laws curbing guns. Asked if they would support a voluntary-buyback program of the kind that Australia instituted in 1996, encouraging people to give up their assault-style weapons, forty-two per cent of the likely voters said that they "definitely" would, and twenty-nine per cent said they "probably" would. Other polls have shown overwhelming support for universal background checks and gun-owner licensing.

Posted by at December 8, 2019 7:36 PM