Thursday, April 19, 2007

Media Role in Gun Control Revitalization

Nationwide, the focus is naturally on the tragic devastation at Virginia Tech. The media can't help itself, as overall they have been shown to lean to the liberal side of the political question time and time again. Virtually on Day One, Monday, as events unfolded on the campus, the media was already inviting guests on programs to speak about the revitalization of gun control issues on the agenda of Congress.



Fox News Hannity and Colmes

Check them out to find what was discussed, and will continue to be discussed.

The Fix Chris Cilliazza
Parsing the Polls on Gun Control
Washington Post

In the wake of the Virginia Tech tragedy, the issue of gun control is likely to reemerge in the national political debate. But will the Monday's terrible massacre fundamentally reshape American public opinion about guns and gun control? And will gun control now join Iraq, health care, terrorism and the economy as key issues around which voters will make their decisions at the ballot box?

Recent and historical polling information suggests the answer to both questions is no. Polling on gun control has remained remarkably consistent for the past decade or so, with external events -- even emotionally powerful ones -- not moving the dial in any appreciable way.

Let's Parse the Polls!

Scan recent surveys that touch on guns and gun control and you realize quickly that it has not been a matter of political debate in quite some time. Last fall, a question on gun control was included in an October Post/ABC News survey.

The sample was asked whether they favored or opposed "stricter gun laws." Sixty-one percent said they favored tighter restrictions while 37 percent opposed more stringent regulations.

Not surprisingly, Democrats were generally more supportive of more gun restrictions than Republicans. Seventy-three percent of Democrats favored stricter laws, compared with 52 percent of Republicans who said the same; 56 percent of independents supported tighter strictures.

The same trend was seen when voters were differentiated by ideology. Seventy-one percent of liberals backed stricter gun laws, followed by 61 percent of moderates and 55 percent of conservatives.

It's interesting to note that the Post/ABC poll was in the field shortly after the the shooting at an Amish schoolhouse in Pennsylvania -- the third fatal school shooting in a week's time. Events like the Amish school shooting or even Columbine incident -- i.e. ones that managed to make gun violence in schools a part of the daily debate for several years -- don't have any long-term impact on Americans' overall beliefs about gun laws. Since 1989, an average of 63 percent have expressed support for stricter gun laws -- regardless of external events.

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