Get weekly updates from Reason.
Today's Top Topics
Recent Research and Commentary
Survey finds 51 percent oppose banning “assault weapons”January 30, 2013
As gun rights and gun control are debated in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting, a majority of Americans say elected officials are “exploiting” the tragedy. The new Reason-Rupe poll finds 52 percent of Americans believe that elected officials are exploiting the tragedy for political gain, while 41 percent feel elected officials are acting responsibly.
Democrats differ sharply from independents and Republicans on the issue. Seventy-one percent of Republicans and 60 percent of independents think the tragedy is being politicized, while just 32 percent of Democrats believe so.
As Jacob Sullum mentioned in his column this morning, Reason-Rupe finds that over half, 51 percent, of Americans say people “should be allowed to own assault weapons,” while 44 percent say people “should be prohibited from owning assault weapons.” Once again there is a substantial political divide: 68 percent of Republicans and 57 percent of independents say assault weapons should be allowed. However, just 33 percent of Democrats agree.
Democrats, who normally count on the youth vote, may be surprised to find that 70 percent of 18-24 year-olds and 58 percent of 25-34 year-olds say “assault weapons should be allowed.” Similarly, Republicans, who usually rely upon the senior vote, will find that 57 percent of 55-64 year-olds and 61 percent of people over the age of 65 say assault weapons should be prohibited.
As Congress gets ready to debate new gun restrictions, just 27 percent of Americans say the federal assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 would’ve helped avoid the tragedy if it were still in place. Over two-thirds, 67 percent, say the ban would not have helped avoid the shooting.
The public is split on what might have helped prevent the Newtown tragedy. When asked what might have helped prevent the shooting, 24 percent proposed better mental health treatment, 19 percent said stricter gun laws, 18 percent stressed better parenting and 17 percent suggested armed guards.
Don't use a tragedy to score partisan points.July 26, 2011
Gene Healy says he’s never been a fan of waiting periods for gun purchases, but after the rush to score partisan points in the wake of the horrific car-bombing and mass-shooting in Norway, he thinks the idea of a pundit’s “Brady Bill” might not be a bad idea. Many political commenters could use a “cooling-off” period before they start using mass murder to score partisan points.
Eric Holder's only defense of the ATF's "Fast and Furious" program is that he didn't know it existed.July 20, 2011
On both sides of the Atlantic, two powerful men have attempted to absolve themselves of wrongdoing by claiming that they had no idea their respective organizations were breaking the law. In the UK, News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch claimed before Parliament that he was completely unaware that his News of the World employees were bribing cops and hacking into the voicemails of murder victims. In the U.S., Attorney General Eric Holder has tried to wash the blood off his hands by claiming total ignorance of a multi-agency DOJ program that led to death of a federal agent. In both cases, Mike Riggs argues, the men may be telling the truth. But that doesn't absolve them.
Can the U.S. afford the Bill of Rights?June 17, 2011
Several days ago Adam Gadahn, an American-born spokesman for Al Qaeda, urged would-be jihadists to buy guns at gun shows: "America is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms," he said. "So what are you waiting for?" Within a couple of femtoseconds, progressive America began quoting Gadahn as proof that the U.S. needs to close the so-called gun-show loophole. A. Barton Hinkle wonders if we really want Congress to start repealing every law that could be potentially useful to Al Qaedda. Shouldn’t we also abolish the Fourth Amendment, the FISA court, and maybe even habeas corpus?
View Resources by Type
- Will Gun Rights Get a Big Boost?
February 27, 2010, 10:19pm
- Gun-Control Laws Fail to Prevent Gun Crimes in England; Ayn Rand on Self-Defense
November 5, 2009, 7:17pm
- Exercising Gun Rights in San Diego
August 24, 2009, 11:40pm
- NFL Star Gets Two Years... for Shooting Himself
August 20, 2009, 12:25pm
- Brian Doherty
- Nick Gillespie
Editor in Chief, Reason.com and Reason TV
- Katherine Mangu-Ward
Managing Editor, Reason
- Jacob Sullum
- Adam Summers
Senior Policy Analyst
- Jesse Walker
Media ContactChris Mitchell
Director of Communications
Your tax-deductible gift can help us promote individual liberty, choice, and free minds and free markets.