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Poll shows growing opposition to gun control; Issa op-ed rips ATF

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A new Rasmussen Reports poll released Monday shows waning public support for new gun control measures, with only 40 percent of likely voters backing such ideas while 53 percent – the highest level in more than two years – do not favor additional gun laws.

The poll results represent a nine-point drop in support for stronger gun laws since May of last year, according to Steve Sanetti, president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). He noted that “these results nearly mirror a January Gallup poll that showed the percentage of Americans favoring stricter gun laws fell seven points in 2014, from 38 to 31 percent.”

Rasmussen’s telephone survey of 1,000 likely voters was conducted on March 26-27. It has a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence, according to Rasmussen

The Gallup poll showed that survey’s highest public dislike for strict gun control since 2001, with 55 percent dissatisfied with U.S. gun laws and policies and, like the Rasmussen results, only 40 percent support.

Perhaps, then, it should come as no surprise that Congressman Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform today authored an Op-Ed in The Hill on-line, contending that the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – the agency responsible for Operation Fast and Furious and the Operation Fearless storefront sting debacles – needs to “get its act together.”

ATF is responsible for enforcing American firearms laws, yet critics will argue that during the past five years, since launching Fast and Furious – which was the source of a firearm recovered at the scene of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry’s December 2010 murder in a southern Arizona canyon – the agency has appeared rather adept at breaking those laws and violating its own policies. That much is made clear in ATF whistleblower John Dodson’s book about Fast and Furious titled “The Unarmed Truth,” featuring a forward by Issa and Sen. Charles Grassley.

In this morning’s Op-Ed, Issa takes off the gloves, noting that the ATF has yet to fire a single person responsible for Fast and Furious. He calls the practices used in Operation Fearless “reckless” and says the undertaking – which resulted in the theft of an ATF machine gun – “badly botched.”

But the ATF’s alleged rogue behavior is not entirely responsible for what appears to be increasing public rejection of more gun control laws. Indeed, that may be a small influence on public opinion. What appears to be happening across the country is that Americans have taken a hard look at all of the gun control efforts, from background checks to bans, and concluded that they don’t work.

It also doesn't hurt that an increasing number of citizens are becoming gun owners, borne out by figures released today by NSSF. As more people begin enjoying firearm ownership, they realize there are others who are trying to erode their rights with no proof that they will somehow be safer.

Take the current push for so-called “universal background checks” that erupted after the Sandy Hook and Aurora movie theater tragedies, and have spawned an initiative campaign in Washington state. Pandered by gun prohibitionists as a way to prevent mass shootings, while the same people acknowledge as something of a footnote that they really won’t, the whole notion of expanding beyond what already exists as a uniform standard with the Brady Law is losing traction. The proposal was hammered at a hearing in Olympia two months ago.

After all, the shooters at Aurora, Tucson, Seattle’s Jewish Federation, Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois University, Seattle’s Café Racer, the Washington, D.C., Navy Yard and Fort Hood all passed background checks. The shooters at Sandy Hook and Oregon’s Clackamas mall stole their guns from people who passed background checks. The shooter at Oregon's Thurston High School in Springfield used guns bought for him by his dad, and he repaid the kindness by murdering both of his parents before heading to the school.

Sanetti, in his blog published yesterday, observed, “Most American citizens seem to understand that the ‘common sense’ solutions invariably have more impact on law-abiding gun owners than on illegal gun use.”

That has always been the case, for one simple reason. Law-abiding citizens are compelled to obey the law, no matter how much they dislike it, while criminals habitually ignore the law, no matter what it says.

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If you like what you read in Examiner, please use the link above to subscribe and forward the link to this column to your friends and post it on your favorite gun rights forums. Follow me on Twitter (@handgnr).

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