So, what will their task be like? Who who are the people they are going after? How common is gun ownership? What does the public think of the NRA? What about its' political positions? Some recent polling sheds some light on these questions.
A popular idea among gun gun control advocates is that gun ownership is declining. When they are confronted the evidence that gun sales are booming, their reply is always the same: "It's not new gun owners, it's the same gun owners buying more guns." Well, a recent poll looked at that issue:
So, far from declining, the number of households willing to tell a polling firm that they own guns is up from 40% to 52% in the past 14 years (a 30% increase). This is even more significant when one remembers that the 2012 polling was done in the wake of the Newtown shooting and that most pollsters believe that gun ownership is under greatly under-reported at any time. The number of gun owning households is almost certainly significantly higher - perhaps much higher.
One might ask, what has happened to crime while more and more guns were being purchased. FBI statistics give us a very clear answer:
So, we have looked at gun owners - now well over half of households - now let's look at the opinion that people have of the NRA, post Newtown:
Here we see that the percentage of people having a favorable opinion of the NRA, tracks very closely to the percentage of people owning firearms. This indicates that gun owners believe that the NRA is doing a good job of representing their interests. It also proves that in spite of decades of demonization by the main stream media, they remain very much a mainstream organization.
Speaking of the media, of all positions taken by the NRA, none is more mocked by the media then their position that the 2nd Amendment is a safeguard against a tyrannical government that might decide to trample the rights of the people. This position, more than any other, is cited - even by some conservatives - as evidence of the NRA's "extremism". But is this view, extreme or mainstream? Well, the polls clearly answer this question.
Another position held by the NRA and directly opposed by gun control groups and their friends in the mainstream media, is that more guns in the hands of the law abiding leads to less crime and greater safety. Gun control groups contend that the opposite is true. What does the public believe?
Clearly, the public has rejected the gun control message that more guns equal more crime and more death, and accepted the NRA's position that crime is deterred when people can defend themselves.
Pres. Obama has focused primarily - although not exclusively - on tighter gun control laws as the primary answer to the recent outbreak of mass shootings. What does the public think? Do they think it will work?
Although they MAY be willing to try a bit tighter gun laws (more about that later), they do not think it will do a lot of good. This is why they are looking for additional solutions, not just window dressing.
So, next let's look at the various solutions that have been proposed by both the administration and the NRA. * indicates an NRA proposal.
Let's consider these results:
Only one of the administration's gun control proposals (universal background checks) has greater than 60% support, while all except one of the NRA's proposals (arming teachers) has support of 60% or better. Again, the NRA appears much more mainstream than one would think if your only information were the mainstream, liberal media.
Furthermore, at least one of the administrations gun control proposals is based on ignorance. Most "non-gun" people could not define "assault rifle" if their lives depended upon it. Why? Because the gun control groups have intentionally sowed confusion. The love the term. Assault Weapon just sounds criminal. The governor of New York stated that they are never used for hunting. He is mistaken or lying - because they are now commonly used for hunting. In addition, they have worked very hard to convince people that they are machine guns (they are not!). What they really are is simply modern, semi-automatic rifles made from modern materials. If only a small minority of those favoring the ban are informed of the absurdity of the differences between rifles that would be banned and those that would not be banned, support will likely drop below 50%.
The gun control groups have seen these polls too - and that's why they are now telling their friends in Congress to put most of their efforts into getting universal background checks. They know that this is the only one of the gun control proposals that has any chance of passing - even though it would not have helped in ANY of the recent mass shootings.
So, judge for yourself. Is the NRA the radical organization that is "out of touch with most Americans"? Or, is it the president that is out of touch?