A new Rasmussen survey released this morning revealed that there is no traction for additional gun control laws, with only 33 percent of survey respondents believing that tougher gun laws might have prevented Monday’s mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard.
This came almost simultaneously with an update from the Washington Department of Licensing that there are now more than 445,000 active state concealed pistol licenses, up more than 3,000 from when this column last checked the figures Aug. 19.
The Rasmussen Reports survey also noted that 71 percent of Americans believe it is not possible to completely prevent mass shootings while only 16 percent think it is.
The telephone survey was conducted Tuesday and Wednesday (Sept. 17 and 18) among 1,000 adults with a three-point +/- margin of sampling error.
There are some other revelations in the Rasmussen survey that suggest, as do the new CPL figures from Olympia, that Americans are far more in favor of gun ownership than opposed to it. The survey found that 62 percent of the respondents do not trust the government to fairly enforce gun control laws, while only 26 percent do have that trust. Twelve percent aren’t sure.
That level of distrust is also reflected in the revelation that 74 percent of Americans believe citizens have a constitutional right to own a firearm, but 44 percent are concerned that the government may try to confiscate private firearms over the next generation.
One other thing that this new survey did was reinforce the partisan divide on gun rights between Republican and Democrats. According to Rasmussen, 69 percent of those identified as Democrats favor tougher gun laws, but 79 percent of those identified as Republicans and 53 percent of independents do not believe stricter gun laws would have prevented the Navy Yard shooting. Overall, 26 percent of the respondents were convinced that tougher laws were not at all likely to have stopped gunman Aaron Alexis.
Twenty-five percent of the public believes that the nation would be safer if only police and the military had guns, while 46 percent think the country would be less safe. Twenty-two percent think the level of safety would be about the same, Rasmussen reported.
And, while there is still strong support for background checks, Rasmussen says 51 percent of the survey respondents do not believe such checks will reduce violent crime.
MEANWHILE, there is an erupting flap over a Kansas journalism professor’s Twitter message the other day saying that the National Rifle Association had blood on its hands for the Navy Yard shooting. The remarks are from associated professor David Guth at the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas.
On his personal website called Snapping Turtle, Guth made the mistake that several others did when he asserted that the shooting involved a so-called “assault weapon” when Alexis was initially armed only with a 12-gauge Remington Model 870 Express pump action shotgun.
“There is no justification for the widespread sale of assault weapons, high-volume magazines or hollow-point bullets,” he wrote. “In fact, their sale is a well-documented threat to national security. Enough is enough. Lynn Jenkins, my congressional representative, is going to hear from me. And if she fails to support reasonable restrictions on these murderous munitions, I am going to give my money and vote to someone who will. There are two sides to this debate: The side of angels and the NRA. Where do you stand?”
There is no question where Guth stands. He stands alongside Piers Morgan and Dianne Feinstein, both of whom made fools of themselves, along with many in the mainstream press, while authorities at the crime scene were still trying to sort things out.