A fascinating quote in Washington Post ‘s coverage of the declining odds of major gun control laws passing this year:
“If there was a secret-ballot vote it would pass overwhelmingly, because from a substantive point of view most of these senators understand that this is the right thing to do,” said Matt Bennett, a gun-control advocate and senior vice president at Third Way, a centrist think tank. “What’s holding them back is pure politics.”
So, the only thing holding back these proposals is… public accountability. “Lawmakers would support our ideas, if the public was prevented from ever knowing that they voted for it!”
Gun control advocates consistently overestimate the popularity of their own agenda. There are a lot of Americans who are kinda-sorta gun control supporters. They’re willing to tell a pollster they back an idea like far-reaching background checks, ammunition capacity limits, assault weapons bans, and so on… but they’re not going to vote based upon that issue. In fact, they may not be likely to vote in a midterm election at all.
Gun owners, on the other hand, do vote on this issue. And the lesson of the 1994 midterms, Gore’s defeat in Arkansas and Tennessee in 2000, and so on is that these voters will remember, and vote accordingly.