In the aftermath of every mass shooting there is a wide public debate whether U.S. gun laws need to be stricter, but the debate has never led to any real changes. The Democrats aim to make gun violence a burning topic in the 2016 presidential campaign, but a recent poll conducted by Washington Post-ABC News found that even though the public agrees gun violence is a problem, most of them don’t see current gun policies as the issue.
Truth be told, the percentages are quite close, with 46 percent of surveyors claiming that new laws are necessary to reduce gun violence, while 47 percent are advocating the right to bear arms. This is a somewhat big change in comparison to 2013 when 52 percent said new policies are a must, but even then Democrats weren’t able to push through new legislation.
One thing unites all Americans – 82 percent claim that gun violence is a serious issue which must be addressed to.
For decades there has been a rift between Democrats and Republicans on the issue of gun control.
The change of percentages in comparison to 2013 is due to the shift in the number of people who support Republicans. So, the numbers have risen in favor of the Republican Party from 58 percent to 71 percent.
Gun control is seen as a national problem, but we as a nation find ourselves in a stalemate with two very divided sides and policymakers aren’t in the position to change anything. Even so, the debate is as fresh as ever with 1,294 mass shootings this year so far (an incident where four of more people were killed or injured by gunfire).
As a reaction to all these shootings many have advocated stricter gun laws, but the Washington Post-ABC poll finds that most Americans point out MENTAL ISSUES as the prevailing cause of gunfire incidents. With 63 percent of support, most U.S. citizens believe that mass shootings reflect personal mental issues and the lack of professional help – and not a problem of inadequate gun control laws.
This is where the rift between the Republicans and Democrats is most noticeable: 82 percent of Republicans believe shootings are caused by failure to identify and treat people with mental issues, while only 46 percent of Democrats agree with this opinion.
Very strong and opposite opinions are also present between urban and rural areas, and between men and women.
Mental Issues vs. Gun Control
As stated above, opinions are firm, but strongly opposed. Seventy percent of Democrats believe that stricter gun control is necessary, while almost the identical percentage of Republicans believe that the right to bear arms is more important.
Just a little more than half the people living in urban areas (52 percent) believe new gun laws are a priority, while these numbers plummet to 45 percent in suburban areas and to only 33 percent in rural areas.
If we look at the rising numbers of gunfire incidents we can only conclude that the problem is here to stay, so even though opinions differ on how to solve the problem, some action needs to be taken ASAP.