Americans favor more guns and assault rifles, polls show | Arkansas Blog

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Americans favor more guns and assault rifles, polls show

Posted By on Sun, Dec 20, 2015 at 8:27 AM

click to enlarge UNPOPULAR NOW: A ban on assault rifles.
  • UNPOPULAR NOW: A ban on assault rifles.
Sobering news from new polling on guns:

For the first time in 20 years, a majority of Americans say they oppose banning assault weapons, according to a new poll from ABC News and the Washington Post.

And the people who say they're most worried about terrorism are also more likely to say the solution is for Americans to carry more guns.

So there you go. Democratic candidates' warmth toward gun safety best be a carefully modulated.

I tend to agree that bans aren't an immediate solution to anything. Not with the existing U.S. armory. Universal background checks. Stronger punishment for those who are careless with the keeping and use of arms. Continued development and mandatory use of gun safety mechanisms. These are starting places for me.

But, no, I don't find persuasive the notion that the presence of more weapons, particularly more high-capacity rifles designed for killing other people, makes us safer.

Even responsible owners haven't prevented children from obtaining their parents' arms and opening fire on other children. Those weren't Muslims firing rifles at Westside school. 

These are disturbing times, I grant. A good friend who likes to travel as I do told me the other night he'd canceled a planned trip to London, Rome and Paris on account of recent events. There's no arguing with anxiety and an anxious trip would not be a fun trip. But you might as well add Roseburg, Ore.; Sandy Hook, Ct.; Colorado Springs and Aurora, Col. to the list. The threat of evil deeds by one bad person with a semi-automatic weapon and a big clip simply can't be eradicated, certainly not by putting more of the weapons on the street.

I think often of an early story in my newspaper career, in the early 1970s, when a disturbed young man with a rifle holed up in a Junction Bridge railroad tower and took a few potshots. Only one man was wounded. The shooter was said by a sheriff from his hometown to be a crack shot, a military vet brought up in the duck-hunting marshes of Southwest Louisiana. There were a lot of us arrayed below him around the Junction Bridge. Happily, Little Rock didn't join the roll of infamous slaughters that night before police took him into custody.

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