Public opinion polls have emphasized this new reality, showing a marked trend toward more robust gun laws. As Vox’s Dylan Matthews notes, the polling shifts immediately after school shootings have traditionally been ephemeral. But, while it’s still early and surveys have varied, there are signs that Parkland may really be different. The surge in gun reform sentiment hasn’t faded as much as in previous instances, while some of the transformations in public opinion have been dramatic. One particularly striking Gallup poll, conducted in early March, showed that support for stricter gun laws stood at 67 percent, its highest level since 1993, and that 13 percent of Americans mentioned guns as the most important problem facing America, the highest number since the issue was first included in that question in 1994.
Another clear sign that the winds of opinion are changing is that right-wing commentators have largely abandoned their well-rehearsed talking points about guns themselves in favor of ad hominem attacks against the Florida students.
As conservative websites peddle outrage and easily disprovable conspiracy theories about the students, commentators like Ben Shapiro and Erick Erickson have adopted a strangely aggressive attitude toward David Hogg. Lesser residents of the fever swamps have followed suit with the insults. On Saturday, gun zealot and White House guest Ted Nugent said that the Parkland student activists are “soulless” liars, and Hollywood also-ran Frank Stallone called Hogg a “pussy.”