National support for stricter gun control laws has fallen from 90 percent down to below 50 percent, but gun control advocates seem to have missed the memo.
Gun control proponents have been throwing around the statistic of 90 percent fairly liberally (no pun intended) over the past several weeks. With so much bipartisan support, new gun control legislation that requires universal background checks should have been a shoe-in.
Well, it wasn’t. The bill failed in the senate, and national support for gun control legislation is dwindling. A new poll by USA Today found that only 45 to 49 percent of Americans are in favor of Congress passing a stricter gun control bill. This shouldn’t be terribly surprising – similar polling showed that gun control support had dropped to 61 percent in February and 55 percent in early April.
This trend could be a product of changing news headlines. As Newtown becomes a not-quite-distant memory and the Boston bombing reminds Americans how nice it’d be to have a gun in the unlikely event that terrorists kick down their front door, the American people are simply changing their minds on the gun control debate.
Those who maintain their gun control stance, however, haven’t lost the will the fight. Sixty-one percent of those in favor of stronger laws stated that Congress should aim for a stronger version of the failed bill, while 30 percent were willing to compromise with a weaker version.
President Barack Obama also remains focused. He recently tweeted: “Washington can't get away with ignoring 90% of the country on gun violence prevention. Say you'll keep fighting.” Obama – or at least the organization that posts on behalf of Obama – has been chewed out by Twitter users for the post. One user wrote, “lol! 90% want gun control?! ahahahaha come on Mr president I know u think people are stupid but come on #factcheck,” and another tweeted, “I say let us do a popular vote on it and see if your 90% figures are accurate!!”
With the senate bill dead on arrival and gun control support dwindling, it seems that gun rights advocates have successfully weathered the storm and can look forward to a brief respite until the next mass shooting whips up another flurry of gun control sentiment.