April 11, 2009


From Oakland, California, to Binghamton, New York, several mass shootings in recent weeks have killed dozens across the country. But has there been an effect on public opinion? Yes, and in a surprising way.

Since 2001, most Americans have favored stricter gun laws, though support has slightly dropped in recent years: 54 percent favored stricter laws in 2001, compared with 50 percent in 2007, according to Gallup polling.

Now, a recent poll reveals a sudden drop — only 39 percent of Americans now favor stricter gun laws, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll.

The gradual, long-term decline in support for gun control from the early 1990s to 2008 coincided with a decline in the murder rate. But this year’s sudden drop seems to be influenced by politics, namely the Obama administration.

As Jeff Soyer notes, CNN has generally skewed pro-gun-control, so this is big news. He thinks it may not be fear of Obama that’s driving the change, though: “I’m starting to wonder if the fact that the MSM is spending more time profiling the sick mutants who commit mass shootings is having an unintended — for the anti-gun media — effect of convincing many that it really IS the mind of the killer, not his weapon, that is the problem.”

Meanwhile, where did people come up with what ThinkProgress calls the “false claims” that Obama wanted to take away guns? From listening to Barack Obama. Go figure.

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