Gallup chalks this four-year low in its polling on gun control up to a lack of a “high-profile mass shooting.” Perhaps it’s more due to a decade-plus high in other kinds of shootings — and the lack of police response to them. Either way, support has sharply dropped in 2020 for more gun control legislation, although support for rolling back existing laws is still on the fringe (via Cam Edwards at Bearing Arms):
In the absence of a high-profile mass shooting in the U.S. in 2020 and amid the coronavirus pandemic, civil unrest related to racial justice issues and the contentious presidential election campaign, Americans are less likely than they have been since 2016 to call for increased gun control. The latest majority (57%) in the U.S. who call for stricter laws covering the sale of firearms marks a seven-percentage-point decline since last year. At the same time, 34% of U.S. adults prefer that gun laws be kept as they are now, while 9% would like them to be less strict.
Gallup has been tracking the public’s views on this measure since 1990, when a record-high 78% of Americans supported stricter laws for gun sales as the nation’s crime rate was rising. A majority of Americans held that position until 2008. Support then fell to a low of 43% in 2011, when an equal number said gun laws should be kept as is, but calls for stricter laws increased sharply to 58% in 2012 after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Since the early 1990s, Americans’ preferences for tougher gun control have generally peaked in the wake of prominent mass shootings and waned as the memory of each fades. A recent example was the 2018 school massacre in Parkland, Florida, after which support for increased gun control hit 67%. Support remained near that level last year in two readings taken after mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, on consecutive days in August.
Could it be that other “mass” events have had more of an impact in 2020? Say, the mass riots that took place over the summer, and the retreat of the police departments in major cities as a result? That retreat left a vacuum that got filled rapidly by criminals who victimized cities where citizens were instructed to cooperate with robberies, and who got lectured on “privilege” for worrying about property crimes.