To any of those who still refuse to acknowledge that unfettered access to guns are an existential threat to American society, they should let this fact sink in: There have been thirty-three mass shootings in the United States just since the massacre in Uvalde, Texas, two weeks ago. And 246 mass shooting so far this year.
These horrific crimes have resulted in untold pain and grief. Many of the victims have been children. The vast majority of the American people have had enough and are disgusted by the failure of their representatives to do something about it.
However, let’s be clear about who is obstructing the path to common sense solutions that most Americans support. A new CBS News poll has affirmed what every previous survey has found to be gumming up the works. When asked if mass shootings are “something we have to accept,” 44% of Republicans say that it is. Contrast that with only 15% of Democrats and 27% of Independents who believe that such slaughter is tolerable.
In a new @CBSNewsPoll, 72% of the nation believes mass shootings are preventable, however, there is a partisan split with 44% of Republicans saying mass shootings are something we have to accept. @SalvantoCBS breaks down these numbers. pic.twitter.com/JE9B39wHdM
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) June 5, 2022
What’s more, a huge majority (72%) of Americans believe that mass shootings are preventable. But again, the partisan divide shows that that is broken up into 85% of Democrats and only 56% of Republicans. Meanwhile, 60% of voters overall say that laws covering gun sales should be more strict. And 46% say that the U.S. would be safer with fewer guns. And when asked why the U.S. has so many more mass shootings than many other countries, a majority (54%) say it’s due to the greater availability of guns.
So why on Earth would 44% of Republicans say that mass shootings are an acceptable part of living in America? They are, in affect, advocating tolerance of domestic terrorism. Would they say the same thing about other crimes. Are rapes just a “something we have to accept”” What about child abuse? Bank robberies? Crashing jets into office towers?
Obviously Republicans are not so hostile to laws addressing those crimes. Nor do they object to laws prohibiting reproductive choice, or immigration, or banning books about race or slavery. So what’s the difference? Is it that they only want to avoid laws that regulate gun ownership?
The GOP has a perverse interpretation of “law and order.” They have a distinctly political criteria for when it should be observed. For instance, when it comes to Hillary Clinton, Republicans want to “lock her up,” despite the fact that they can’t identify a single law that she has broken. But the same Republicans want to set free the January 6th insurrectionists who violently stormed the Capitol to help Donald Trump overturn the 2020 presidential election.
While 44% of mass shooting tolerant Republicans is a significant chunk of the GOP, they are a miniscule portion of the American population. Registered Republicans are a mere 27% of the electorate. Which means that they are less than 13% of the U.S. population at large. And yet, due to the preposterous, and wholly undemocratic idiosyncrasies of American politics (i.e. the electoral College, senatorial representation, gerrymandered congressional districts), they have an oversized influence on what laws can be passed.
Unfortunately, that means that nothing substantive will change with regard to guns (or abortion, or racism, or voting rights, or fair taxation, or the environment, etc.) until that imbalance is corrected by either reforming the political system (including the Constitution), or electing more Democrats. Let’s hope that there is some progress on the latter this coming November.
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