By: Robert Davis
The gun control fervor that surfaced in the media nationwide following the Parkland, Florida school shooting is already passé, and gun policy is something more voters care less about, polling shows.
“Almost everyone you talk to on the Democratic side of politics says there’s something different about the gun debate this election season,” The Washington Post reported earlier this week in an article explaining “How to tell if the gun-control movement is going to be a major player in November.”
If some polls are accurate, however, the gun issue might not be as influential in the upcoming elections as the Post suggests.
“The gun issue is beginning to wane in voters’ minds ahead of the November midterm elections, a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds,” NPR reported this week. “While almost half of all registered (46 percent) say a candidate’s position on gun policy will be a major factor in deciding whom to vote for, that number is down 13 points from February…
“So if Democrats are counting on guns to motivate their voters to get to the polls, maybe they shouldn’t,” NPR further reported. “There has been a major drop among Democrats on the issue — down 21 points over the past two months. In February, 74 percent of Democrats called it a major factor in deciding their vote in February, but now just 53 percent say so.”
As calls for increased gun control get quieter, demands for more guns and accessories from manufactures have gotten louder.
“Two months after the death of 17 people at a school shooting in Florida sparked the strongest push for gun control in years, gun makers’ stocks and firearm sales have surged,” Reuters reported this week. “…The upcoming midterm elections could boost them further, as candidates at federal and state government levels call for restrictions on the sale of AR-15s and other assault-style rifles used in recent massacres.”
Standing Their Ground
Colorado Republican Senator Tim Neville says the anti-gun rhetoric has given his party the chance to double-down on its pro-Second Amendment stance and has allowed the GOP the chance to reinforce its message to liberty-loving supporters which side is dedicated to upholding their Constitutional rights.
“The laws being passed restricting magazine sizes and outlawing guns based on their looks go after the wrong people,” Neville told Gunpowder Magazine. “The right to keep and bear arms is clear. This [political climate] has given us a chance to clarify the issues of our party, one that stands for constitutional rights and individual rights. The gun control narrative is one that urges people to step on our constitutional rights. Instead, we should be focusing on school safety and deterring acts of violence.”
The national marches calling for more gun control laws following the Parkland shooting also motivated citizen groups to publicly express their support for the Second Amendment. According to a report by The Guardian, people who voted for Trump felt that their views were being left out of American politics.
Lesley Hollywood co-founded “Rally for Our Rights,” a pro-gun group that held a peaceful, open-carry demonstration in Loveland, Colorado following the March for Our Lives protests.
“With the overarching anti-gun sentiment spreading across this country, I felt it was necessary to show a differing point of view,” Hollywood told Gunpowder Magazine.
The anti-gun messaging has also sewed divisions within the Democratic Party. John Rodgers, a Democratic state senator from Vermont, says he grew-up in rural communities and learned how to shoot guns as a way of life. New democrats have been slowly pushing the party farther to the left over the past 20 years, Rodgers says.
“Law-abiding citizens are being vilified for owning certain firearms and magazines,” Rodgers told Gunpowder Magazine. “This issue has been so divisive. Even more so because the mainstream media has attached itself to the gun control issue also.”
Following the Parkland shooting, the media spent 15 days driving home gun control narratives through their coverage of the event, but Vox reported last month the media coverage of the gun debate had dropped off significantly.
Robert Davis is a journalist from Colorado. He covers defensive gun use and Second Amendment policy for Gunpowder Magazine. Contact him at RobertDavis0414@gmail.com.
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