Recent polls reveal a disconcerting truth: most Americans are clamoring for stricter gun control to tackle the country’s epidemic of gun violence. However, the powers that be, our state legislators, are turning a blind eye to the public’s pleas and are, in fact, providing even more concessions to the gun industry.
A compelling poll published by NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist this week posed a direct question to respondents: What’s more important – safeguarding gun rights or stemming the tidal wave of gun violence sweeping the country? The answer was overwhelmingly in favor of the latter, with 60% of respondents championing measures to combat gun violence. Only 38% insisted on the protection or expansion of gun rights.
This indicates the second-largest chasm between the two alternatives since the poll’s inception in 2013. The widest margin was reported in June 2022, following the heartbreaking mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, a tragedy that led to a two-point higher differential compared to the recent poll’s 22-point spread.
The results of this poll underline the general public’s disillusionment with the status quo on gun laws, as Lee M. Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, interprets. “The lack of action from Washington lawmakers on the issue of guns is glaringly out of touch with public sentiment. In reality, Americans are eager for a variety of solutions to address the escalating concern over gun violence,” Miringoff clarified.
Despite broad public support for gun reform, a Republican-led House and a filibuster-locked Senate have thwarted any substantial progress at the federal level. On the flip side, GOP-dominated state legislatures and governors have been actively dismantling restrictions on gun ownership.
In the year following the devastating Uvalde shooting, legislators have churned out 93 gun-related bills. Of these, a staggering 56% expanded gun access or bestowed protections and perks to the gun industry. A mere 44% imposed restrictions on firearms or provided resources for victims and their families to hold the gun industry accountable.
In the wake of Uvalde, the United States has witnessed hundreds of mass shootings. Just this year, 2023, has seen over 240 mass shootings, leading to nearly 17,000 lives lost to gun violence.
Rudy Espinoza Murray, leader of Moms Demand Action in California, speaking to Axios, didn’t mince words about the passage of laws that relax gun ownership instead of regulating it. “It’s a fatal error. It’s costing us lives. It’s as simple as that.”
This dire situation is a wake-up call to all our lawmakers. We, the people, are demanding urgent, meaningful action on gun control. It’s high time they listened and responded.