A Monmouth Poll released in the last week showed support for an assault weapons ban had dropped in the last year by nine percentage points to 46%. Meanwhile, those opposed to such a ban reached 49%.
We do not doubt the numbers. In fact, it gives us more resolve to keep pushing the issue.
Our main premise in our series of opinion pieces over the last month is Americans have wrongly accepted gun violence and mass shootings, becoming desensitized to the damage that assault weapons such as AR-15 that are increasingly the weapons that cause multiple deaths and injuries.
When you dig deeper into the Monmouth poll, a significant part to us is when the survey was taken:
The poll was conducted before the recent Nashville shooting but after shootings in Michigan and California earlier this year and numerous other shootings last year that occurred subsequent to Monmouth’s prior poll in June 2022.
Let’s put that in context: The June 2022 polling came in the aftermath of the Uvalde school shooting that killed 19 students and two teachers. But the Monmouth survey was from mid-March before the six deaths, three of which were children, in Tennessee, the Louisville bank shooting and four incidents of young adults being in the wrong place at the wrong time this month.
You know who took a poll after the above shootings and showed a jump of 15 percentage points supporting our position? Fox News. Their national poll found 61% of Americans wanting assault weapons banned.
Gun violence, especially mass shootings with assault weapons, keeps happening. And that is something that we just should not accept.
Heading into this weekend, there have been 13,716 deaths due to gun violence, 174 mass shootings leaving 17 dead. Of the deaths, 568 of those deaths were children under the age of 18.
No other country has these stats when it comes to gun deaths but they all have the same access to movies, video games and the internet. It is our lax gun laws that are the difference.
To that end, the Monmouth poll did show 81% support requiring comprehensive background checks, 72% for a federal red flag law and 56% feel individual states should be allowed to limit who can carry a concealed handgun (the Fox poll found around 80% want background checks, age limits, and 30 days waiting periods).
The Jersey Shore polling outfit recorded 34% saying that the right to bear arms is absolute and should not be limited; we land with the 51% who believe the right to bear arms in the Second Amendment is important but should have restrictions.
There is room for common sense gun safety reform. The numbers do show that there is work to be done to make sure that includes an assault weapons ban and we continue to bang the drum for it until it happens. And that includes supporting politicians that consider this a top tier issue willing to use their political capital to make a change, Democrat and Republican alike.
But all of us must stop accepting that gun violence, especially those by AR-15s and other assault weapons, is something that we can do something about.
Because we have done so in the past and we can do it again.