US gun regulation, background checks, private sales, new law
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When you preach at the altar of unfettered gun ownership, what do a few human sacrifices matter?

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The right to own guns is much more important to Republicans than protecting people from these weapons, a new poll has shown.

By a margin of almost 2-to-1, GOP voters said that, if they had to choose between protecting gun rights or their fellow Americans, they’d choose the former.

Specifically, 59 percent of them said the right to own guns tops the need to keep people safe from them. A mere 33 percent felt the opposite.

That stands in sharp contrast to where the country as a whole stands.

Overall, 54 percent of Americans feel that the lives of others should take precedence over gun rights.

Perhaps the findings of the poll shouldn’t be overly surprising. After all, Republican lawmakers routinely stand in the way of sensible and popular gun control measures, and their voters never seem to have a problem with that.

What is a bit baffling is that GOP voters feel so strongly about choosing gun rights over people right after yet another massacre carried out with a military-style weapon.

The poll was taken hours after news broke that a man had slaughtered 18 people in Maine.

However, if you preach at the altar of unfettered gun ownership, what do a few human sacrifices matter?

That may be the view of GOP voters, but the rest of Americans would like to see greater gun control measures put in place.

Polling from earlier this year shows that Americans as a whole want to enact laws that would make it more difficult for people with mental health issues to have access to firearms and would also support prohibiting assault weapons altogether.

For example, 84 percent of liberals and almost two-thirds of moderate favor the ban of military-style weapons that can be used to quickly mow down entire groups of people.

In addition, massive majorities of all Americans want to keep firearms out of the hands of certain people, such as convicted felons and people with mental health problems. A whopping 94 percent of liberals and 96 percent of moderates are in favor of such measures.

To be fair, even 91 percent of conservatives feel the same way. However, as long as Republican politicians have anything to say about it, it seems unlikely that such laws will be enacted.

Robert Card, the perpetrator in the Maine massacre, had recently reported mental health problems, including hearing voices, and had been committed to a mental health facility for two weeks.

However, it is not always just Republicans who stand in the way of meaningful restrictions on gun ownership.

Maine, for example, has extremely lax gun laws, especially for a New England state, even though Democrats control the state Legislature and hold the governorship.

Earlier this year, the state Senate rejected three bills that would have required criminal background checks for gun purchases, put in place a three-day waiting period until people can take possession of any firearms they purchase, and prohibited gun owners to modify their semiautomatic weapons to make them more deadly.


  • Klaus Marre

    Klaus Marre is a writer, editor, former congressional reporter, and director of the WhoWhatWhy Mentor Apprentice Program. Follow him on Twitter @KlausMarre.

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