The Pro-Second Amendment Crowd Have More Work to Do in the Messaging War

The gun debate continues to rage after the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. The anti-gunner lobby is hard at work trying to persuade the public, and Congress, that more laws restricting legal gun ownership will prevent these school shootings and save children’s lives. Public opinion is of the utmost importance in this conversation and while the pro-gun rights crowd is turning the tide in the debate, polling shows there is still more work to be done when it comes to changing minds.

On Monday, President Joe Biden gave reporters an indication of the type of legislation he is seeking to restrict gun ownership. While heading to Arlington Cemetery to commemorate Memorial Day, he told his usual lies about guns and suggested that he would like to see a ban on 9mm rounds.

“The .22 caliber bullet will lodge in the lungs and we can get it out,” the president said. “A 9 mm bullet blows the lung out of the body. The idea of a high caliber weapon, there is no rationale for it in terms of self-protection, hunting.”

As anyone familiar with guns knows, targeting 9mm rounds would effectively make most firearms useless as this is the most popular caliber used for pistols. But this is precisely what Biden and his ilk desire.

This is not the first time Biden has made such a suggestion. On several occasions, he has insisted that he wishes to ban guns that can hold “high-capacity magazines.” During a CNN town hall last year, he said:

 “The idea you need a weapon that can have the ability to fire 20, 30, 40, 50, 120 shots from that weapon—whether it’s a 9-millimeter pistol or whether it’s a rifle—is ridiculous. I’m continuing to push to eliminate the sale of those things.”

As author John Lott and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) wrote in Newsweek:

These statements implicate a far wider range of guns than Biden lets on. Any semi-automatic gun, whether it’s a handgun or rifle, “can hold” a magazine of virtually any capacity. In fact, the vast majority of handguns sold in this country are semi-auto handguns. In 2018, almost 3.9 million semi-automatic handguns were manufactured in the U.S., compared to less than 700,000 revolvers. So, about 85 percent of all handguns made were semi-automatics that “can hold” magazines.

Unfortunately, there are indications that Republican lawmakers might be willing to go along with the Democrats’ anti-gun agenda. Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he met with Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and urged him to meet with Democratic lawmakers like Sens. Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) to see if they can hammer out legislation ostensibly designed to address “gun violence.”

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) also signaled he would be willing to play ball with the anti-gunners, castigating his fellow GOP lawmakers for being “too scared” to deal with the gun control issue. He even went so far as to say he’d be open to a ban on AR-15s. While Democrats might not get enough GOP support for their more radical gun proposals, it is possible they might be able to swing red flag laws and some other measures.

But what is most important is how Americans feel about the matter. Polling from Gallup shows that while support for stricter gun laws is declining, the majority of the public still favors imposing them. In a poll conducted in March 2018, 56 percent of respondents indicated they supported “banning the sale of semi-automatic weapons such as the AR-15” to “prevent mass shootings at schools.” Even further, 63 percent said they believed banning the sale of AR-15s would be “somewhat” or “very” effective at “preventing mass shootings a[t] schools.”

Again, those familiar with guns know better. They realize that banning this rifle would do nothing to save lives. Indeed, in the case of the Uvalde shooter, he had locked himself in a classroom with his victims. At that point, it wouldn’t matter whether he had a rifle or a pistol; the result would have been the same. The problem is that most are not aware of how these weapons operate. It is entirely possible those supporting bans on AR-15s think the weapon is a fully automatic machine gun like one would see in an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. If that’s the case, it would make sense that they would answer in the affirmative.

Gallup noted that in 2022, 56 percent of respondents were either “somewhat” or “very” dissatisfied with current U.S. gun policy. Of those who said they were not satisfied, 36 percent said they would like to see stricter gun laws. However, this number is significantly lower than what it was in 2018 when 46 percent gave this response. Interestingly enough, 20 percent of those dissatisfied said they would like to either keep the laws the same or make them less strict. This is an increase from what it was in 2018 when the percentage was 13 percent.

Lastly, 52 percent of participants in 2021 said they wanted stricter laws governing gun sales. This is quite a drop from March 2018 when the percentage was 67 percent. Conversely, 46 percent said they wanted these laws to be the same or made less strict. This is up from 32 percent in March 2018.

So, public opinion seems to have been heading in the right direction over the past four years. But there is still more work to be done if the pro-gun rights movement wants to flip the script. People are increasingly seeing that the anti-gunners aren’t quite being truthful when it comes to the narratives they spin about firearms and mass shootings.

Moreover, with more education, it wouldn’t be surprising to see these numbers flip in the next few years – and education is the key to winning this debate. The vast majority of those opposing gun rights know little to nothing about guns or the overall conversation on the issue. Their views are based largely on ignorance, and progressives are quite adept at playing on their lack of knowledge. Hopefully, with more voices being heard, we can turn the tide.


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