Underscoring a national divide on guns between Democrats and Republicans, a new ABC News/Washington Post survey has revealed that 86 percent of Democrats think stricter laws would have prevented the Florida high school shooting, but only 29 percent of Republicans agree, the newspaper reported.
According to the WaPo, “The falloff in support for restricting assault weapons has come from all partisan groups, but has been starkest among Republicans and independents. While more than 7 in 10 Republicans and independents supported banning assault weapons in 1999, the new Post-ABC poll finds 45 percent of independents supporting it now, dropping to 29 percent among Republicans. A 71 percent majority of Democrats support such a ban.”
Interestingly, 77 percent of poll respondents overall believe more effective mental health screening and treatment might have prevented the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School tragedy last week. But actions may belie responses to the WaPo/ABC News poll. There has been little rhetoric about mental health compared to the frenzy over gun control.
Perhaps underscoring the political-social divide between Democrats and Republicans is the report out of Dallas, Texas that the mayor pro-tem of that city, Democrat Dwaine Caraway, has called on the National Rifle Association to cancel its upcoming annual members’ meeting and exhibits in that city. The convention is slated May 4-6 in the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, and it has been planned for that location for at least a couple of years.
According to KTRK News, Caraway thinks the meeting “is not appropriate in Dallas in the wake of last week’s school shooting in Florida.”
He didn’t suggest where the annual members’ meeting – required under the NRA bylaws – might be appropriate. NRA members might suggest in response that Caraway’s call is political grandstanding and smacks of social bigotry, the “Your kind ain’t welcome here” mentality.
In Kentucky, according to Fox News, vandals put a message on a billboard that declared “Kill the NRA.” If this were directed toward any other social organization, it might be investigated as a threat or a hate crime. The organization met for its annual convention in Louisville a couple of years ago.
The WaPo/ABC News poll also found that “More than 6 in 10 Americans fault Congress and President Trump for not doing enough to prevent mass shootings.” But is that fair?
Congress passed the Gun Control Act of 1968 at the urging of anti-gunners. Congress passed the Brady Law requiring background checks on firearms sales, again under pressure from gun control proponents. Both of those laws have failed to prevent mass shootings.
Trump arrived rather late on the scene, so blaming him for violent crimes that have been happening for years might seem disingenuous at best.
Perhaps blaming the president and the NRA for crimes neither committed ignores the possibility that they just might have some solutions.