popular opinion

Popular Opinion and Gun Rights

Advocates of even the mildest gun control reform in the US were dealt a serious blow yesterday, as the Senate failed to enact an expansion of background checks for gun purchases online and at gun shows.   Some have been quick to gloat over the result, while others were taken aback that the Senate could so blatantly ignore the will of the American people.  A number of polls have indeed shown massive support for background checks on gun purchases (upwards of 90%) – according to one survey, the proposal is even more popular than kittens.  This level of support predates the Sandy Hook massacre.  Political analysts will go to great lengths to explain how such a popular measure was voted down (the strength of the National Rifle Association’s lobbying efforts play a large part, no doubt), but we can also ask whether it should have been – in particular, independent of the merits of the bill, whether politicians should not have flaunted the will of the people.   Continue reading

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