Kyle Rittenhouse Case Unlikely To Bring Tighter Gun Laws
Gun laws hit the headlines once again with the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse on all charges for defending himself against assailants during a 2020 riot in Kenosha, Wisconsin. A peek at the tea leaves suggests it’s highly unlikely that gun-banners will get mileage out of the high-profile case. While tightening firearms laws remains a popular cause among Democrats, Americans as a whole are more negative than ever about the idea. Policy ideas confined to a partisan fetish have little chance of passage in a closely divided country, and even less of winning compliance even if they become law.
“Americans’ support for stricter gun control has fallen five percentage points to 52%, the lowest reading since 2014,” Gallup reported last week before the verdict came down. The high point in support for stricter laws was 1990. Since then, opinions have wandered a bit, but generally trended downward.
Over that time, though, the issue has become increasingly partisan, with soaring support for tighter laws among Democrats, declining support among Republicans, and independents caught in the middle, but losing their taste for restrictions. Since 2001, Democratic support for stricter laws grew from 61 percent to 91 percent, while Republican support dropped from 44 percent to 24 percent. Independent support for more restrictions went from 55 percent in 2001 to a high of 64 percent in 2019 before a plunge to 45 percent.
As a result, tougher gun control remains an unassailable position among Democratic politicians, but one with diminishing appeal outside the ranks of the faithful.
The Rittenhouse verdict is unlikely to budge the numbers since reactions break down along similar partisan divides. Democrats compete to condemn the outcome as racist and an indictment of the American system of justice, while Republican officials joke about arm-wrestling over who gets to hire Rittenhouse as an intern. He can’t be just a guy; he’s a hero or a villain depending on your party.
“I am deeply concerned that it will encourage more tragic gun violence from those like Kyle Rittenhouse who think they have a license to take the law into their own hands in a violent way,” huffed Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) who also called for “common sense gun safety reforms.”
“Never surrender your Second Amendment right to defend yourself and your family,” responded Rep. Mary Miller (R-Ill.) to the verdict.
In today’s tribal political environment, the reactions were right on-schedule and predictable along party lines. They’re not going to budge public opinion one way or another, though they serve as attaboys to loyal supporters whose opinions on the issues can pretty safely be assumed.
What might budge opinions is the shared need for self-defense across the population without regard to partisan affiliation, race, or any other identifier. Contrary to much progressive insistence that the use of self-defense is an expression of white privilege, it’s a necessity for peopl
Article from Reason.com