Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Opposition to "Assault Weapon" Ban at Record High, Support at Record Low

Image from ABC News

The above chart, created by ABC News, illustrates the trajectory of support and opposition for policies promoted by media elites that have no actual basis in fact or logic.  New media allows a significant, underdog, method to distribute facts about the policy.  The chart is a little misleading.  It starts in the middle of 1994, when the elite media control was near its height, and at the end of a blitz of media efforts to push the "Assault Weapon Ban" policy.

These sort of policies, that rely on emotion, have to be enacted quickly, before the public can discover how much they have been mislead.  That is what happened with the "Assault Weapon Ban" (AWB).  In the case of the  AWB, the proponents were not worried about the public learning the truth; they controlled the media, with almost no effective opposition.  But that was changing quickly.  Talk radio had already begun to make inroads, and the Internet was just starting to become a viable method of mass communication.

The opponents of the ban, more attuned to reality, had managed to include a sunset to the bill ten years in the future.  By the time the sunset came due, enough people had learned the truth to prevent an extension of the bill.

I recall talking to a former military officer who was a manager in the Civil Service.  It was about 1992, as the propaganda campaign in favor of the AWB was ramping up. He was astounded that the AWB only affected semi-automatic firearms.  He had assumed, from the propaganda, that it was all about fully automatic arms; those had already been excessively regulated for 60 years.  He understood the implications quickly and clearly.  It only took a minute to explain them.

That is what has happened to a large plurality of the electorate as they have become educated on the issue.  35% completely reversed their positions. It is because they have been exposed to facts and rationality instead of purely emotional arguments and falsehoods. 

You see the same effect in multiple attempts to pass more infringements on Second Amendment rights.  The current campaign is for the vague phrase "Universal Background Checks" (UBC).  The percentage in favor and against started at about the same level shown for the AWB in 1994.  There were about 80% to 90% in favor in selectively worded polls in 2013.  Nearly all the support was based on ignorance, emotional arguments, and false representation of the actual legislation.

The support for UBC is already eroding, as more and more people are becoming informed.  Even  in liberal Washington state, with massive funding by Bloomberg and several other enormously wealthy elitists, with an ad campaign based on falsehoods, the actual vote was only 60% for, an erosion of 20-30%.  There was almost no effective opposition.  The opposition to the referendum was outspent by 15-1, and the major media in the area actively supported UBC.

Emotion and lies can sway an electorate; but when there is a means of getting the facts out, emotional support, based on lies, eventually is eroded.  That is why the proponents push so hard to pass the measures quickly.  The good news is that once former voters are educated, they are much harder to fool again.  A bit of credibility is lost each time this happens.  That credibility was built up over decades of relatively careful reporting, followed by decades of an effective control over the media; it has been worn away to a fraction of what it was 30 years ago.  Faith in news reporting is at a low not seen for a long time.

There is plenty of room for faith in the media to fall further.  The gallup poll taken in 2015 puts faith in the media at 40%.  Presumably, those are people who obtain most of their information from the old, elite, media.  Younger people are more skeptical yet, with their trust level down to 36%.

Even more skepticism is likely in the future.  Credibility is slow to build, and easily eroded. That is a good thing for those who are Second Amendment supporters.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch


Wireless.Phil said...

Prosecutor: No charges for 911 caller in Beavercreek Wal-Mart shooting
WLWT Cincinnati
2:05 PM EDT Apr 18, 2016

Wireless.Phil said...

In a Bernie Sanders speech, he said we shouldn't have them.
He won't be getting my vote.