Guns in America: Rights vs. Control

15 Dec

In the wake of the Connecticut shootings Nate Silver (NYTimes) has an intersting column about America’s “conversation” on guns as it is reported in the media. Here’s the core finding:

If the news coverage is any guide, there has been a change of tone in recent years in the public conversation about guns. The two-word phrase “gun control” is being used considerably less often than it was 10 or 20 years ago. But the phrase “gun rights” is being used more often. And the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is being invoked more frequently in the discussion.

After some interesting discussion of the data:

The change in rhetoric may reflect the increasing polarization in the debate over gun policy. “Gun control,” a relatively neutral term, has been used less and less often. But more politically charged phrases, like “gun violence” and “gun rights,” have become more common. Those who advocate greater restrictions on gun ownership may have determined that their most persuasive argument is to talk about the consequences of increased access to guns … For opponents of stricter gun laws, the debate has increasingly become one about Constitutional protections…

Their strategy may have been working. The polling evidence suggests that the public has gone from tending to back stricter gun control policies to a more ambiguous position in recent years. There may be some voters who think that the Constitution provides broad latitude to own and carry guns – even if the consequences can sometimes be tragic.


2 Responses to “Guns in America: Rights vs. Control”

  1. Charlie Keil December 15, 2012 at 9:46 pm #

    “Amendment II
    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

    There is a 1, 2, 3, 4 order, a clear logic, to this sentence. First things are first. “A well-regulated militia,” Good regulation, rules to be followed, a Militia with a capital M to belong to that has rules and regs well thought through, 2) necessary for the security of a free State. Very specific purpose.
    The famous 2nd amendment is all about context and control, strict regulation, for security, for maintaining a free State.
    I don’t see anything about a right to shoot warm-blooded animals for the pleasure of it, the fun of it, or a even a right to hunt for food.
    I don’t see anything about the right of the Commander in Chief to have a “kill list” and to kill women and children in foreign lands by remote control without any legal or “due process” whatsoever.
    Do you?

    • Bill Benzon December 16, 2012 at 12:54 am #

      Good points, Charlie. And that Commander-in-Chief who maintains the “kill list” doesn’t seem terribly anxious to regulate hand-arms in the USofA. Now maybe he’s thinking about the political power of the NRA but may he’s also aware of the “zeitgeisty” connection between “kill lists” maintained by the inflated state leviathan and rights of citizens to own semi-automatic arms.

      But does he shed a tear for the Afghanistani and Pakistani women and children?

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