Gun control is considered to be one of the most divisive issues in American politics. This is, in part, because liberals often pretend to believe that we live in a Wild West in which firearms are virtually unregulated. (As an aside, the numbers I have seen suggest that the homicide rate was very low, by modern standards, in the frontier West, but I haven’t investigated deeply enough to be sure whether that is correct or not.)
But most Americans know better: hundreds of federal and state laws and regulations surround the purchase and use of firearms. We already have gun control, to the point where it is hard to keep track of all the relevant laws. And, in fact, despite the popular perception of gun control as a wedge issue, there is a surprisingly broad consensus on the most important policy question.
Rasmussen finds that, following Devin Kelley’s massacre in Sutherland Springs, Texas, “66% of Likely U.S. Voters now think the United States needs stricter enforcement of existing gun control laws.” That makes a lot of sense, since Kelley was able to buy a rifle because the Air Force failed to submit his name to the NICS system that regulates firearms purchases, despite a court martial for domestic violence.
The consensus in favor of stricter enforcement of existing gun laws is longstanding:
That’s up from 61% in 2015, but down from 68% the year before and 73% in late 2013.
Prosecutions of gun crimes declined drastically during the Obama administration, compared with the George W. Bush administration. That likely was because of Barack Obama’s and Eric Holder’s peculiarly racialized view of criminal justice. It is typical of liberals that they are more interested in making political hay out of problems than in solving them. Most Americans know better, when it comes to firearms.