Gun Control and Its Impact on Public Opinion

4798Gun control took a back seat to Mark Rubio's water break and increases in the minimum wage, but President Barack Obama said victims of gun violence deserve a vote on assault weapons during Tuesday's State of the Union.

Iconic "flower power" photograph by Pulitzer Prize Winning photojournalist Bernie Boston. Americans only seem to be more anti-gun these days, but in reality, over time, the majority are in favor of the keeping gun laws as they are. That doesn't mean some sort of tweaking is in the works, however, especially regarding assault weapons.
Americans may be more willing to accept gay marriage these days at the polls, but on a couple hot button issues, the country remains as divided as ever.

Over the last several years, the only social issues that seemed to matter to voters were whether gays should be allowed to marry, or whether or not the Supreme Court should overturn Roe v. Wade, the law that made abortion legal.  Today, the biggest social issue is gun violence, and the Second Amendment right that allows Americans to own all kinds guns, including high-powered assault rifles used by law enforcement and the U.S. Marines.

The National Rifle Association surely didn't make guns front and center.  And, arguably, neither did Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Gun violence stepped onto center stage on Dec. 1, when Kansas City Chiefs Linebacker Jovan Belcher shot his girlfriend, Kassandra Perkins, to death after returning home in a drunken stupor.  The next day, Belcher turned the same gun on himself and committed suicide in front of his coaches.  Sports talk radio couldn't get enough of the story, and then on Sunday Night Football Dec. 2, long-time sports commentator Bob Costas blamed the mix of sports and gun culture for what went down the night before. Quoting a former Kansas City Star sports columnist named Jason Whitlock, Costas said that "hand guns do not enhance our safety. They exacerbate our flaws. If Jovan Belcher didn't possess a gun, he and Kassandra Perkins would both be alive today."

The right wing media went into a frizzy. Fox News radio firebrands called for Bob Costas to be fired. Our gun debate was off and running after a long pause from a summer shooting spree at a Colorado movie theater.

Ironically, Whitlock was the one critical about guns. Costas just repackaged his words and put them in front of a larger audience. And, even more ironically, Whitlock works for Fox Sports.

Source: Forbes | Kenneth Rapoza
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