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Gun Control Has Completely Faded As An Issue Voters Care About

Gun Flag

In the wake of the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut that resulted in the death of 27 people, most of them elementary school students at Sandy Hook Elementary School, national support for some form of gun control laws spiked to levels that had not been seen in quite some time. Among the most widely supported were some form of expansion of background checks at the Federal level that would close certain loopholes that allowed guns to be sold at gun shows and transferred between individuals without a background check taking place. That resulted in an effort in the Senate to pass just such a bill, led by Democratic Senator Joe Manchin and Republican Senator Pat Toomey. That effort failed, of course, and there were some observers who thought there would be some political consequences for the failure of Republicans to support the bill given the high level of public support for the idea. As it turned out, that backlash has failed to materialize, and indeed wasn’t even in evidence in the immediate aftermath of the defeat of the bill. At the time, I noted that this wasn’t entirely surprising given the fact that, while some gun control proposals have generally always been supported by the public, the entire issue of gun control was a low priority issue for most Americans and not one that was likely to motivate them to vote against politicians who went against their wishes on the issue.

As I explained at the time, this largely explained the fact that politicians did not seem especially concerned with voting contrary to majority opinion on the issue because, while it was a low priority issue among American who supported things like background checks, it was a high priority among opponents of those provisions and those voters were far more likely to be single issue voters on the issue of gun control than the public as a whole.  This distinction between high support and low priority was borne out by polling in the months after Newtown. By July, we saw that gun control as an issue had largely faded from the mind of the average American, and by the one year anniversary of the shootings last December public support for most types of gun control had eeturned to the relatively low levels of support and concern that they were in before the shootings. All of this was, of course, consistent with the idea supported by polling that goes back years that gun control is not a high priority issue for the vast majority of Americans.

Now, as we approach the second anniversary of the Newtown tragedy, a Gallup poll finds that support for gun control measures has fallen even more:

Less than half of Americans, 47%, say they favor stricter laws covering the sale of firearms, similar to views found last year. But this percentage is significantly below the 58% recorded in 2012 after the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, spurred a nationwide debate about the possibility of more stringent gun control laws. Thirty-eight percent of Americans say these laws should be kept as they are now, and 14% say they should be made less strict.

The percentage favoring stricter gun sale laws in the two years since Newtown occurred has declined despite steady and tragic high-profile shootings in the U.S at schools, malls and businesses. This past week, shootings occurred at a Seattle-area school and of police officers in Sacramento and Placer County, California. Amidst events like these in 2014, and the resulting calls for stricter gun sale laws, the 47% who favor stricter laws is just above the historical low of 43% measured in 2011.

Ten years ago, three in five Americans (60%) said they favored stricter laws regulating the sale of firearms, but support fell to 44% in 2009 and remained at that level in polls conducted in the next two years. Days after the Newtown shooting, support for stricter gun sale laws swelled. Since 2012, however, Americans have retreated from those stronger attitudes about the need for more gun control, and the percentage of Americans who say the laws should be less strict — although still low — has edged up.

The percentage favoring stricter gun sale laws in the two years since Newtown occurred has declined despite steady and tragic high-profile shootings in the U.S at schools, malls and businesses. This past week, shootings occurred at a Seattle-area school and of police officers in Sacramento and Placer County, California. Amidst events like these in 2014, and the resulting calls for stricter gun sale laws, the 47% who favor stricter laws is just above the historical low of 43% measured in 2011.

Ten years ago, three in five Americans (60%) said they favored stricter laws regulating the sale of firearms, but support fell to 44% in 2009 and remained at that level in polls conducted in the next two years. Days after the Newtown shooting, support for stricter gun sale laws swelled. Since 2012, however, Americans have retreated from those stronger attitudes about the need for more gun control, and the percentage of Americans who say the laws should be less strict — although still low — has edged up.

As this chart shows, the post-Newtown increase in support for new laws now looks like a statistical blip, and the longer term trend shows American support for new gun control laws trending downward:

Gallup Guns Chart One

More interestingly, demographic breakdowns show support declining among nearly all demographic groups:

Gallup Guns Chart Two

And, we are at thTe point where nearly three-quarters of Americans oppose the idea of banning or more strictly regulating handgun sales:

Gallup Guns Chart Three

At the time of the Newtown tragedy, there were some who suggested that the gun debate in the United States had reached a turning point in the gun debate and, for a time, it seemed as though that might be true. What we’ve seen instead, is a return to historic norms on the issue, and more importantly no indication that the Senators who voted against things like the Manchin-Toomey proposal would pay a political price for doing so. If anything, the political price was paid by supporters of greater gun control, as recall elections against the people who originated gun control bills in Colorado seem to demonstrate quite aptly. Now, it seems like the trend of public opinion has returned to where it was before Adam Lanza went on his insane rampage. Advocates of stricter gun control may not like that, but that appears to be political reality in the United States.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Mu says:

    So you’re telling me I can go vote for my preferred (but for the gun issue) candidate because he won’t be able to act on it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  2. Paul L. says:

    Expanded Background checks and laws like the NY SAFE Act and Colorado’s have 90% support including NRA members.
    Progressives

    thought there would be some political consequences for the failure of Republicans to support the bill given the high level of public support for the idea.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  3. C. Clavin says:

    This polling needs to get unpacked a little, I think.
    A QU poll in July found that 92% of respondents, and 86% of Republicans, favor background checks.
    If the question asks about “stricter laws” that’s a loaded question with no meaning.
    The same QU poll found similar numbers as the poll you quote…but as I said…it’s meaningless.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  4. humanoid.panda says:

    @Paul L.:
    People nearly universally support background checks

    AND

    People don’t view the guns issue as a major priority

    Are not actually contradictory statements.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  5. grumpy realist says:

    I think a lot of us have given up in despair. The gun owners I used to know were rational people who used guns for hunting but never forgot how dangerous they were. They also were extremely quick to jump on “dumb hunting activity” and made sure their kids did NOT treat guns as toys.

    Now we’ve got a bunch of wild-eyed gun fanatics who act as if any restraint on guns (keeping them out of the hands of wife-beaters, for instance) is a Crime Against Humanity and who think that wandering around crowded areas with guns sticking out of their pockets is Mah Nachural Raight, no matter how many people it scares the piss out of.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3

  6. @C. Clavin:

    As I state in the post, and have stated for two years now. There’s no question that there is wide public support for something like expanded background checks. However the same polls that show that also show that it is, relatively speaking, a low priority issue for voters.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  7. stonetools says:

    @grumpy realist:

    I think a lot of us have given up in despair.

    This. In effect, the gun cult fanatics have outlasted us, with plenty of help from the gun manufacturers’ lobbies.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  8. Paul L. says:

    @C. Clavin:

    favor background checks.

    We already have background checks.
    Progressives portray their backdoor gun registry as background checks.

    But the law prevented that

    The powers of the Patriot act was only to be used against terrorists but the DOJ uses it mainly for drug crimes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

  9. Dave Schuler says:

    Doug, go back and look at Gallup’s “Most Important Problem” polls. Gun control has never been an issue that most voters care about, at least not by comparison with other issues except, possibly, for very short periods. “The economy” is what most voters care about.

    Gun control is of intense, persistent interest to a very small percentage of Americans. Americans may have the wrong priorities but them’s the priorities they’ve got.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  10. James Pearce says:

    If anything, the political price was paid by supporters of greater gun control, as recall elections against the people who originated gun control bills in Colorado seem to demonstrate quite aptly.

    Yeah….that recall election wasn’t about gun control. Not really.

    I think Heller did more to kill gun control than the “political price” paid by politicians.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  11. rob says:

    @grumpy realist:

    I mentioned this to the wife a while back if Sandy Hook didn’t change anything nothing will Americans simply just don’t care anymore. It’s time for advocates to give up!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  12. @Dave Schuler:

    I didn’t say it was, but if you look at that poll in the wake of Sandy Hook there was a slight uptick in that number in the wake of the shootings. As I noted in the post, that didn’t last very long. By April, four months later, it was going down, and now its further down the list than it was before December 2012.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. humanoid.panda says:

    Politically speaking, going for gun control was dumb. You were never going to get any significant legislation through the current Senate, so all you did was to alienate some gun owners, without giving your side a victory of any sort. Gun control proponents have 20 years of movement building ahead of them before they can start thinking about serious legislation, and no Democrat should waste political capital on this before they do.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  14. Just Me says:

    I think this far more of a local issue anyway than a federal one.

    I think the Colorado recall was when gun control ceased to be a major issue and those I. Favor of more restrictions began to be harmed by the position in many jurisdictions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. Paul L. says:

    @James Pearce:

    I think Heller did more to kill gun control than the “political price” paid by politicians.

    Giffords and Kelly: Fighting gun violence

    Rather than conducting a dialogue, they threaten those who divert from their orthodoxy with political extinction.

    OMG people try to get politicians they disagree with voted out.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  16. gVOR08 says:

    @rob: Depressing, isn’t it. I can’t say I’ve ever felt gun control was a high priority issue. But have we really become so callous that a few dead kids now and again is accepted as routine?

    @Dave Schuler: Only hope I see is that it appears the “very small percentage of Americans” to whom “Gun control is of intense, persistent interest” is slowly shrinking.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  17. grumpy realist says:

    @gVOR08: Yup, “a few dead kids now and then” is now considered the price we’re supposed to pay for Second Amendment Freedom (TM). And a few dead women. And a few dead men….

    And we’re getting hysterical about Ebola?!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  18. stonetools says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    I agree. We have to think long war, like the abolitionist movement, the civil rights movement, the anti-smoking movement. Mike said it earlier:Liberals tend to think they can use logic, and TA DA! people will convinced by our wonderful argument. Doesn’t work that way,against entrenched tradition, especially when there are powerful interests working to defend that tradition.
    I do think that right after Sandy Hook, we might have done something if the Obama Administration and the Democrats tried to rush a bill through. But the Obama Administration doesn’t do things that way, because hey, Mr. Cool Cucumber liked to move slowly, carefully, and to appeal to logic. By the time the Administration was ready to move, passions had cooled and the Republicans and the NRA were ready for the Administration’s telegraphed punch. And an opportunity was lost.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  19. c.red says:

    Washington State has two opposing background check initiatives on the ballot; I’m not inclined to have an opinion until I see how that plays out.

    The expanded checks initiative could be seen as favoring certain businesses since it requires anyone selling a gun to go through a licensed vendor to provide the required background check.

    The anti-background check initiative tries to hide behind some language about not allowing the state to seize guns without due process and setting the State to the National Standard, so it is set up to sound much more innocuous than it is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  20. gVOR08 says:

    @stonetools: There won’t be a long war like abolition or civil rights. There isn’t a large enough pool of people to whom this is sufficiently important. It may turn out to be a long war like anti-smoking in that data will accumulate until conclusions become inescapable. This would happen in parallel with increasing urbanization reducing the numbers on the pro-gun side. Maybe_eventually_guns will become uncool.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  21. Mu says:

    Wow, the fight against gun rights is now similar to the abolitionist movement. Guess that makes Heller the Dread-Scott of our generation, and gun owners are similar to slave holders.
    I think the reason gun control initiatives failed is that people realized that none of the proposed measured would have done anything to prevent the shooting in questions. Tuscon and Aurora happened with legally purchased, background checked guns, and Lanza killed his own mother to get to the guns, something already illegal.
    And the one law that might have made a difference in the Lanza case, and might have prevented the recent Seattle tragedy, mandatory safe storage, wasn’t even in the discussion after Newtown. Of course, that only drives the conspiracy minded crowd, safes don’t leave the DHS desired paper trail background checks do.
    It’s really unfortunate that we can’t have compromise in the US, any restriction on abortion will overturn Roe vs. Wade, any restriction on gun ownership will overturn Heller etc. . I so wish we could be a congress that actually makes laws on these things instead of waiting for some black and white Supreme Court decision to wine about for decades.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  22. gVOR08 says:

    @Mu: We’ve had a long list of restrictions on abortion at the state level.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  23. stonetools says:

    @gVOR08:

    It may turn out to be a long war like anti-smoking in that data will accumulate until conclusions become inescapable

    Yeah, well with anti-smoking, the conclusions were inescapable by the 1950s but the tobacco lobby filibustered for two decades, helped by people who thought the issue was “FREEDUMB!”, not science.
    I think with gun control, the data is already inescapable but the gun industry saw the tobacco lobby’s mistake and is now actively working to prevent the accumulation of evidence by choking off scientific study of the issue, and to create its own “data” to obfuscate things. Incredibly, they are even better wankers than the tobacco lobby, who I thought plumbed the depths of sociopathy.
    Anyway, this is a long war that we will eventually win. Too bad there will be tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  24. humanoid.panda says:

    @stonetools: Opportunity to do what though? What kind of meaningful legislation could be passed even one day after Sandy Hook?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. Gustopher says:

    Well, 30,000 dead a year is just not that important to many people. It’s the same number that die in car accidents.

    Anyway, I just voted for an initiative to close the gun show background check loophole in Washington State, so obviously some people care.

    (And for those gun enthusiasts who are upset that the initiative is overly broad: Tough shit. The initiative system is terrible, and leads to poorly drafted laws. Had the gun lobby not blocked every effort at having qualified people write laws to close the gun show background check loophole, this wouldn’t have happened.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  26. Gustopher says:

    @Mu:

    Wow, the fight against gun rights is now similar to the abolitionist movement. Guess that makes Heller the Dread-Scott of our generation, and gun owners are similar to slave holders.

    And guns are the slaves?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  27. Guarneri says:

    Some people still have inquiries about guns:

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9dIV1f_PsEM

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  28. Hal_10000 says:

    I think with gun control, the data is already inescapable but the gun industry saw the tobacco lobby’s mistake and is now actively working to prevent the accumulation of evidence by choking off scientific study of the issue, and to create its own “data” to obfuscate things. Incredibly, they are even better wankers than the tobacco lobby, who I thought plumbed the depths of sociopathy.

    Except that even the NRC (among others) concluded that the data showed, at worst, no connection between gun violence and gun ownership. But when the facts won’t support your conclusions, just claim you need more facts.

    You’re right. This has been a long struggle. And the gun control advocates lost. Look at the poll numbers and the legislative history. 50 years ago, maybe even 25 years ago, there was support for strict gun control. Now there isn’t. And given the way violence has been falling throughout our society, that’s unlikely to change.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  29. grumpy realist says:

    @Hal_10000: WHAT data?! The Gun Lobby has managed to halt any federal research on the matter at all!

    Yeah, let’s just pretend that all those dead bodies mean nothing.

    And these are the same people who go ballistic about IUDs. It boggles the mind.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  30. stonetools says:

    @Hal_10000:

    The civil rights movement was supposed to be dead after Plessy v Ferguson, too. Like I said, long war.
    That one study you’re talking about is doing a lot of work. Maybe you should link it. Worldwide, there is a helluva lot of evidence that gun safety laws do work. But I see no reason to take up the debate again today. I’ll only point out that there is one side that is actively working to supress scientific study of gun violence, just like in the smoking campaign, there was one side that was contesting the scientific evidence that tobacco causes cancer. I’ll let others draw the conclusions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  31. al-Ameda says:

    The cult of gun ownership is enduring in this country.

    Say’s Law: Supply creates its own demand. There are 315M people in America and nearly as many as many guns. Supply and easy availability of weaponry is a public health problem, but not one that we’re serious enough about to bother doing anything about. We’re willing to put with thousands of homicides, and we’re going to experience periodically in any year a mass shooting or two – just the way it is these days.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  32. Hal_10000 says:

    Here is the NRC study (http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?isbn=0309091241)

    Grumpy, you did need to make up your mind. Do “all the studies” show gun control works or are there no studies? It’s neither because studies are published every year on this subject and continue to show either no connection between gun ownership and violence or a negative relationship.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  33. grumpy realist says:

    I’m saying there are no recent studies that mean anything. We need sufficient funding to carry out the necessary studies and the Republicans have been blocking federal funding for years.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  34. stonetools says:

    BTW, here are the conclusions from that study:

    Empirical research on firearms and violence has resulted in important findings that can inform policy decisions. In particular, a wealth of descriptive information exists about the prevalence of firearm-related injuries and deaths, about firearms markets, and about the relationships between rates of gun ownership and violence. Research has found, for example, that higher rates of household firearms ownership are associated with higher rates of gun suicide, that illegal diversions from legitimate commerce are important sources of crime guns and guns used in suicide, that firearms are used defensively many times per day, and that some types of targeted police interventions may effectively lower gun crime and violence. This information is a vital starting point for any constructive dialogue about how to address the problem of firearms and violence.

    While much has been learned, much remains to be done, and this report necessarily focuses on the important unknowns in this field of study. The committee found that answers to some of the most pressing questions cannot be addressed with existing data and research methods, however well designed. For example, despite a large body of research, the committee found no credible evidence that the passage of right-to-carry laws decreases or increases violent crime, and there is almost no empirical evidence that the more than 80 prevention programs focused on gun-related violence have had any effect on children’s behavior, knowledge, attitudes, or beliefs about firearms. The committee found that the data available on these questions are too weak to support unambiguous conclusions

    I certainly don’t think those conclusions prove this:

    studies are published every year on this subject and continue to show either no connection between gun ownership and violence or a negative relationship.

    Meanwhile in the US, 30,000 people die every year from guns whereas in 2011 in UK the figure was 8.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  35. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @stonetools: Mike said it earlier:Liberals tend to think they can use logic, and TA DA! people will convinced by our wonderful argument. Doesn’t work that way,against entrenched tradition, especially when there are powerful interests working to defend that tradition.

    No, liberals seem to think that whatever they want is logical, and anyone who doesn’t agree is illogical, stupid, bought, or some combination of all three. Especially if those of us who disagree point out just how incredibly stupid that what they want is.

    Draw a line between the gun control measures proposed after Sandy Hook and how they might have prevented it. The shooter was underage (illegal to own/possess a gun already) who stole the weapons he used by murdering their legal owner. The proposed regulations wouldn’t have mattered one damned bit in that case — or in the majority of other gun crimes you get so hysterical over.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 8

  36. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    anyone who doesn’t agree is illogical, stupid, bought, or some combination of all three.

    I think you are conflating how people think about you with how people think of all Republicans/conservatives.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

  37. anjin-san says:

    I think we are close to the point where liberals will need to accept that this is an issue they have lost on, just as conservatives lost on gay marriage and Obamacare.

    As a society, we now accept horrific massacres of citizens as part of the status quo. We hear about it, we post a meaningless graphic on our Facebook pages, and we move on. Apparently as a group we lack the insight to see what this dismal new status quo tells us about ourselves.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  38. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @Mu: Bingo! The force driving the Sandy Hook outrage was (unfortunately) that the kids who died were mostly white, suburban, and relentlessly middle class. I.E. the were our kids. As the story evolved and as time has gone on, even though there has been a fair number of shooting sprees, we have been seeing over and over that the types of legislation that we can enact will probably not do much–if anything at all–to change the equation in Adam Lanza or the kid last week at Marysville-Pilchuck. Moreover, we can see that the actual risk is similar to other tragedies. I’m sorry, but that doesn’t create the kind of sea change that gun control activists would like to induce.

    I want to go on record: there is nothing that makes me feel safer than knowing that somewhere a gun has given up its life so we can have another sewer grate. I don’t see this change on the horizon, though.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  39. James Pearce says:

    @anjin-san:

    I think we are close to the point where liberals will need to accept that this is an issue they have lost on, just as conservatives lost on gay marriage and Obamacare.

    I think you’re right on this. Our culture is too gun/gay friendly these days. Bans in the face of that?

    Sisyphus had an easier task.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  40. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @James Pearce: I think you’re right on this. Our culture is too gun/gay friendly these days. Bans in the face of that?

    Once, over at Instapundit, I read “I’d be delighted to live in a country where happily married gay couples had closets full of assault weapons.” I find that thought rather appealing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  41. anjin-san says:

    It’s worth noting that when black folks started carrying guns openly in the 60’s, Ronald Reagan signed the Mulford Act in a hot city minute.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  42. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: It’s worth noting that when black folks started carrying guns openly in the 60’s, Ronald Reagan signed the Mulford Act in a hot city minute.

    Really? Why is it worth noting? A state law from 50 years ago? And if it was so repugnant to you, why haven’t you called for its repeal?

    Reagan had a lot of really good ideas, a couple of clunkers. That one, I’d say, ranks up there with “trust the Democrats to keep their word on the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  43. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Why is it worth noting?

    If you think about it really, really hard, if you engage each and every brain cell you can bring to bear, perhaps you will figure it out. I doubt it, but it’s possible. Miracles happen.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  44. Eric Florack says:

    @anjin-san: I’d say your problem is that he’s already figured it out.
    and, of course, but he figured out you’re wrong.

    it’s possible you’ll figure that part out too. I suppose miracles happen as you say.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  45. Gustopher says:

    @Eric Florack: The only way we can really be sure is to start getting the scary Black Panthers to start openly carrying.

    Meanwhile, it looks like my state now requires a background check for any transfer of firearms, whether by private individual or dealer. And, to hear the gun enthusiasts complain, it will prevent the Boy Scouts from having their shooting badge. I’m ok with that.

    And that’s how I expect gun control to continue in this country for the time being — with poorly crafted initiatives that have unforeseen consequences but appeal to a majority of voters.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  46. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Gustopher: Here’s another fun hypothetical. I’m at the shooting range with my buddy, whom I’ve known for ten years. While shooting, we also shoot the… well, you know the term. He mentions he’s looking for a lighter-weight rifle, as the recoil on his is a bit much for his wife, who’s a bit on the petite side. I mention that I’m thinking of getting a bit heavier rifle, as I don’t like the power of my current one. A light dawns on us after a few minutes, and he proposes that we simply swap guns. A straight-up trade, his for mine, between two people who already meet all the legal requirements to own guns.

    So why should we have to seek out a licensed gun dealer to put his or her federally-licensed seal of approval on this swap, presumably for a fee?

    Oh, I know. Because some mentally ill person might break into his house and take his gun, then go shoot up a school. Because of that danger, we need to jump through your hoops (and added time/expense) to approve of a sale that would still leave that gun where it might be stolen by a mentally ill person so he can go shoot up a school.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  47. anjin-san says:

    @Eric Florack:

    I suppose miracles happen as you say

    If you ever have an original thought we will know for sure.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  48. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: If you ever have an original thought we will know for sure.

    And if you ever say one thing of substance on the topic, I’ll… oh, hell, why bother finishing that? We both know it’ll never happen.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  49. Eric Florack says:

    more or less the point I was making,@Jenos Idanian #13. moreover it’s always useful for demonstration purposes to turn his words back on him. Sort of like sweeping a crutch out from under a cripple the whole thing comes tumbling down

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  50. anjin-san says:

    Florack & Jenos, together at last. Water really does seek its own level. Thanks for providing a case study of the lowest common denominator :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  51. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: Called it!

    nd if you ever say one thing of substance on the topic, I’ll… oh, hell, why bother finishing that? We both know it’ll never happen.

    How thoughtful of you to prove my point so vividly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0