The National Journal conducted a poll on whether Americans believe that a ban on so-called “assault weapons” would have any effect on mass shootings. The poll found a wide gender gap on the issue, among both Republicans and Democrats.
Women are far more likely than men to say that mass shootings could be reduced if there were a ban on assault weapons, such as the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle that Adam Lanza used to kill 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary school last December. Almost three-quarters of women say an assault-weapons ban would be effective, compared with 44 percent of men. A majority of men, 54 percent, say such a ban wouldn’t have a serious impact on reducing mass shootings.
Like the nation as a whole, opinion on the matter among Republicans is also riven by a gender gap. Republicans in general do not think an assault-weapons ban would be an effective way to cut down on mass shootings; only 42 percent say it would reduce them. But that skepticism is quartered largely among Republican men. While less than a third (29 percent) of GOP men and GOP-leaning men say an assault ban would be effective, a majority of Republican women and Republican-leaning women (57 percent) say a ban would reduce mass shootings.
Fortunately, the Journal also post the poll itself, questions and all. The pollsters did not just ask for any adult male or female in households they called. They went specifically for a certain set of males and females.
Why ask for the YOUNGEST adult male or female in the household? Could it have anything to do with the fact that in the Obama era, we have a record number of young adults still living at home with their parents?
I’ll wager that the aim here was to get the jobless adult in the household who knows the least about guns, and has spent most or all of their life hearing about how evil “assault weapons” are. The term “assault weapon” rose to prominence as a political term during the Clinton administration, when the youngest adults were children. It has no consistent definition from state to state, and tends to indicate cosmetic features that have nothing to do with a weapon’s actual firepower. An old-school tube fed .22 rifle, for instance, can have greater ammo capacity that a more aggressively styled magazine-fed gun. Media will consistently report that the magazine-fed gun uses “clips,” and if it has a folding stock or a pistol grip, it is an “assault weapon.” Reporters could do their homework and report on guns accurately, as I have when I’ve run into things about guns that I don’t know, but I’ve observed years of consistent media “mistakes” when it comes to reporting on guns.
The media, which is consistently and conveniently clueless on the subject of firearms, almost never reports on “assault” or any other weapons accurately. Media leaped, for instance, to claim that the Navy Yard shooter used an assault weapon, when the fact is he used a Joe Biden-approved shotgun. The media also almost never reports accurately that whatever the Democrats are proposing today regarding gun control, their proposals are almost never designed to have any effect on criminal behavior and are very unlikely to have any impact on mass shootings. Their proposals are nearly always aimed at curbing the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.
Our youngest adults, male and female alike, probably know the least about guns and have heard the most anti-gun propaganda of any of us. A poll that explicitly targets them is likely to skew more against guns than a poll that neutralizes age.