Gun Policy In Focus Again

Gun policy in focus again, a lot’s changed in recent years that might surprise. 

After the shooting at the Tree of Life Congregation Pittsburgh, gun policy, in addition to anti-Semitism is back in focus. The attacker used legally purchased guns, and an AR-15 was the weapon of choice. A different version of a similar conversation/debate is taking place. After the shooting in Parkland I mentioned that, based on research from January of this year in Florida, we would likely see significant gun control measures passed. The reason was pretty straight-forward. There was significant support in Florida for reforms prior to the shooting at Stoneman Douglas. The shooting simply and sadly, became the catalyst for the reforms that comprised the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Act. 

On the federal level, President Trump has taken executive action phasing out bump-stocks, about the extent of action he can take unilaterally, but legislation hasn’t followed Congressionally yet. While many have made gun policy into a specific partisan issue, it hasn’t been and isn’t necessarily so cut and dry. When you consider that Republicans control Florida’s legislature and Florida’s Republican Governor passed sweeping reforms in our state, it illustrates the point. 

Majorities of Americans, regardless of political party, supported six reforms federally prior to the shooting Saturday at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. Ironically enough, The Pew Research Center wrapped up their latest work on the topic just a couple of weeks ago. Here are all of the reforms that majorities of all Americans support. 

  • 67% - Banning (AR-15/like guns) 
  • 67% - Banning high capacity mags 
  • 74% - Creation of federal database to track gun sales 
  • 84% - Bans for purchases for those on federal watch lists 
  • 85% - Background checks for private & gun show sales 
  • 89% - Preventing those with mental health issues from purchasing/owning firearms

Again, all of those have majority bi-partisan support among voters. For that reason, I think it’s only a matter of time before we see action at the federal level. Everything is more complicated federally for all of the obvious reasons, but the will of voters is there for reforms and that's independent of any specific catalyst

Photo by: JASON CONNOLLY/AFP/Getty Images

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