Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Public opinion on guns takes a major shift

We may have Obamacare, whether we like it or not. We may have illegal aliens streaming across the border. The spineless Republicans in Congress have facilitated both. But there’s one issue where conservatives and constitutionalists are winning and winning big. Gun rights.

All 50 states have some form of carry law. The Supreme Court has struck down at least a couple of onerous laws banning guns. Perhaps even more important is that public opinion on the matter has shifted and shifted dramatically in the last several years.

President Obama and the liberals tried to make hay with the Newtown school shooting. They attempted to exploit the tragedy and turn public opinion against guns. Just the opposite has happened. According to Pew Research, Americans’ views on guns have shifted dramatically. They asked a simple question. Is it more important to control gun ownership or protect the right of Americans to own guns. Shorting after Sandy Hook, 66 percent sided with gun control while only 29 percent thought it was important to protect gun rights. After hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent by the anti-gun crowd to sway public opinion, now gun control has dropped to 46 percent and gun rights have shot up to 52 percent. That’s a 20-point drop in gun control and a 23 percent jump in gun rights.

What’s driving this is the public’s growing awareness that owning a gun makes one safer. Only 35 percent believed it prior to Sandy Hook. Now 63 percent do. Conversely, the percentage of people who believe having a gun in the house makes it a more dangerous place has plummeted from 51 percent to 30 percent. In other words, more than twice as many people now believe that having a gun in the house makes it a safer place rather than a more dangerous one. 

The gun-grabbers were sure that a high-profile, multi-victim shooting would work to their advantage. They were wrong. What it did was elevate the entire gun debate. Once people start looking at it rationally, more times than not they come to understand that guns are not the problem. Moreover, they understand that in order to keep them and their families safe, they need a gun.

This is as old as the country itself. There were no gun-free zones at the founding of the United States. People back then knew that a gun-free zone had the potential to be a killing zone. Nothing has changed in that regard. Those little signs with a gun and a red line through it do absolutely nothing to deter killers. In fact, they only encourage them. Would you put a gun-free zone sign in your front yard? Of course, not. Why on earth would you want to advertise something like that? Then why do we have these signs in front of schools? Why would a restaurant owner or a mall want to advertise that all law-abiding citizens inside are unarmed?

No, just the opposite should be true. The criminals should be left guessing as to who has a gun. The multiple-victim shooters choose soft targets. They want to kill on their own terms and die on their own terms. Do you ever hear of one of these nuts opening fire at a gun show?

Public opinion is shifting on this issue because the people are using common sense. More and more places are allowing guns. More and more businesses understand that you don’t make your patrons sitting ducks. That’s bad news for the criminals but it’s great news for us.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.

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