A new Pew Research Center poll suggests that 52 percent of Americans say protecting gun rights trumps the need for gun control. Replace the word “gun” in both references with the words “speech” or “press” or “religion” and gun-grabbers who can't fathom the poll results might better understand why so many Americans feel as they do about the right to bear arms. [Bolding in Original.]Let's set aside the specious First Amendment argument and ponder (as always) what the braintrust decided not to tell you, its loyal readers.
For that we need to go to Pew Research Center - and let's be clear, they get the 52% right:
For the first time in more than two decades of Pew Research Center surveys, there is more support for gun rights than gun control. Currently, 52% say it is more important to protect the right of Americans to own guns, while 46% say it is more important to control gun ownership.Pew released this data December 10, 2014. I'm wondering how, in this 24-hr news cycle, 4 month old survey data is considered new, but that's beside the point I guess.
Support for gun rights has edged up from earlier this year, and marks a substantial shift in attitudes since shortly after the Newtown school shootings, which occurred two years ago this Sunday.
What is new at Pew is this follow up from a few days ago:
Why has public opinion shifted about gun control? As my colleagues at Pew Research Center have documented elsewhere, some of this is related to politics, as Republicans have become far more supportive of gun rights during the Obama years. The rise in support for gun rights has also spanned many other regional and demographic groups.Which leads the writer of the piece, Andrew Kohut - founding director of Pew Research Center, off in a direction I am a not sure the Trib's braintrust would like:
But there may be another factor behind this shift: Americans’ changing perceptions about crime. Over the past 25 years or so, there has been a divergence between American perceptions about crime and actual crime rates. And those who worried about crime had favored stricter gun control; now, they tend to desire keeping the laws as they are or loosening gun control. In short, we are at a moment when most Americans believe crime rates are rising and when most believe gun ownership – not gun control – makes people safer. [Italics in Original.]And then he does what the braintrust almost never does. He supports his opinion with some facts:
In the 1990s, the rate of violent crimes plummeted by more than half nationwide. Public perceptions tracked right along, with the share saying there was more crime in the U.S. over the past year falling from 87% in 1993 to just 41% by 2001.And then he offers an explanation:
In the new century, however, there’s been a disconnect. A majority of Americans (63%) said in a Gallup survey last year that crime was on the rise, despite crime statistics holding near 20-year lows. [Emphasis added.]
Why public views on crime have grown more dire is unclear, though many blame it on the nature of news coverage, reality TV and political rhetoric. Whatever the cause, this trend is not without consequence. Today, those who say that crime is rising are the most opposed to gun control: Just 45% want to see gun laws made more strict, compared with 53% of those who see crime rates as unchanged or dropping.Hmmm...can you see why the Trib braintrust wouldn't want to discuss that part? They'd rather use Pew research to make a cheap First Amendment joke than to write about any of the connection between the public's incorrect perception about crime rates and the public's perceived need for MORE GUNS FOR OUR PROTECTION!
And in case you missed it, I'll ask the rhetorical question alluded to in the Pew piece: where would the public have gotten the incorrect notion that crime rates are rising? The news media perhaps?
And then here are my follow up rhetorical questions: Isn't the Tribune-Review part of the news media? Isn't it, then, part of the problem?
Shouldn't that have been the point of the editorial?