What would it take for a support for Gun Control in the US

I don’t want to start a debate about gun control, but I am interested in opinions from USA’ians on a specific aspect of gun control.

Obviously this is spurred by the latest incident in Colorado.

I’m not American, so don’t have a real grasp on the ‘vibe’ or feeling in the US on the subject, but it is certainly interesting to hear the viewpoints of some on this board.

I’m also not trying to downplay the horror of the incident for the people and families involved, but for me it’s almost no longer a surprise/shock when you hear about a ‘another’ mass shooting in the US. Its almost a shake of the head and ‘when will those crazy cats learn?’

Which is my essential question. What would it take? IE What would have to happen for either a ground swell of popular support, or for an individual politician or indeed a party, to decide to spend the political capital to implement tighter gun controls. (And I suppose would that even be possible at a federal level in the US, or would it have to be done state by state?) Is there any one event, either by number killed, or a specific sensitive location, or something else that could be catalyst for someone ‘to do something’?

By the way, this isn’t an attack on the US, it’s not like these incidents never happen anywhere else, but it seems they occur far more often in the US.

In Australia we had one incident of this nature (which admittedly was the worst of it’s kind in the world at that time), and that spurred an entire rewrite of the gun laws in this country. I happen to think they went a little too far, but only by a notch or two, and a some dissenters aside popular opinion was definitely with the changes. I know it was easier to enact here, from a no gun-culture and our federal/state structure though.

Many reasons, but probably #1 would be if there were no election ramifications for support of gun control. The people who support it (or against it) tend to have constituents who agree with them. It’s a self selecting group.

Why do you hear about it in the news? Back of the envelope says that US has about 6x as many guns as AU, noting that that this number doesn’t account for the fact that people can own more than one and skew it. And now Australia has mostly bolt-action type rifles, not something you can stuff in your pants. US also has almost 14x the number of people. Also the fact that 12 deaths in this manner is going to make the news. 12 separate shootings or even 120 in the inner city are barely going to get a blurb in the local news. I am sure that factoring all of this out, the US still has more incidents, but the point is you can’t just compare total numbers.

I don’t know if any high-profile shootings will change things. AFAIK even the police know that they can’t stop individual mass shooters with no record, just prevent more deaths and reduce the overall death rate.

Part of it is fatigue (and I say that as a pro-gun person). Abortion, Gun Control; these are hot button divisive issues in our society. I think Obama has wisely chosen to completely ignore both of these issues during his presidency. There’s enough on his plate and he faces enough opposition as it is without even bringing up these subjects.

Going forward, we do have a Constitution that says we get to own guns, and a supreme court decision saying “yes, it does”. That’s going to be a helluva roadblock for the kind of bans and ‘tax out of existence’ plans that used to be proposed.

Look, the fact is that we are a violent society. As someone pointed out elsewhere on this board, we in the US have more NON-gun murders than all of Europe has murders, which has a larger population. Banning guns hasn’t made them disappear from the countries that did it, has arguably made for a high rate of non-cooperation even in societies we try to think of as disarmed, and would be very problematic in this country as a whole. I’m not going to debate specifics of that, they’re being done in plenty of other threads and both sides engage in some pretty goddamned stupid assumptions and blindness.

So back to the OP. Gun Control is a loaded issue and it depends entirely on what you mean by it. If you mean in the European or Australian sense, I think that’s pretty much a dead issue in the US.

OP, I’ve been arguing with a pro-gun American on Facebook about this and there’s a fundamental disconnect in the way we think about guns that goes far beyond the murder rate. He sees his guns as necessary to overthrow a tyrannical government, should that ever be an issue. While I think most Australians would treat someone as mentally ill if they told you they needed guns in case they had to overthrow the government, in the US this seems to be an argument that’s considered to have merit in some circles.


As long as there is a United States of America, it will have guns.

It was the attitude of our Founding Fathers.

To be honest, it would probably take a good deal of our elected officials in Congress who are against guns to be shot. Not saying that’s what we should do, but unless they personally feel the pain of it, they will not budge. Its the same way where people who are against gay marriage and gays in general are more likely to change their minds if they personally know gay people.

Gun related horror is happening to “other” people, other being anyone who’s not the person opposing gun control. These people will never listen to reason until they feel the pain of it in a personal way

I dunno, shooting at the President didn’t change anything. Shooting at the populace, which occurs daily, doesn’t change anything. I have no idea what it would take to get the Federal Government to take the stand that ownership of military-grade weapons isn’t a right granted by being born on US soil.

I guess I can own a tank, and grenades, and anything else the military has, too. I mean, why not? Oh wait…that’s totally possible.

Yeah, the US can protect it’s self from the people it arms, but it can’t seem to protect the other citizens. You know, the ones who don’t have bullet proof vests.

I don’t see it ever happening. It’s very difficult to change the Constitution and you’re never going to get enough popular support to do it.

I have an idea!

Let’s start protesting WITH guns. I mean, that’s what that particular constitutional right is supposed to afford us, right? The right to use guns to stop the government when it’s out of control?

I’m not sure it could happen by any means other than decades and decades of hard work by opponents of the status quo. The gun lobby fought hard for a very long time and won. Why would the changes they won be able to be rolled back by a single event? And a high profile crime might have the opposite effect; gun sales in Colorado are up 41% this week.

I’m going to shuffle this off to IMHO, although it may eventually wind up in Great Debates.

Yeah, but that’s because the gun lobbies EVERYWHERE are just using this event to their own advantage. They’ve been saying President Obama is going to repeal gun rights since before he took office. This was just a great place for them to grandstand. “OMG THEY’RE COMING FOR YOUR GUNS!! LOCK AND LOAD!!” As if a single one of them could have got a shot through the bulletproof garb.

The only thing I can think of that might spur a fast reversal would be a massive failed attempt at armed insurrection. And I do mean massive as in several thousands of participants or tens of thousands attempting to overthrow the government by force. Resulting in martial law and forced disarmament by the military.

OTOH, for the government to have devolved to the point where that was a viable threat, there would have to be some serious problems with said leadership.

Oh that should be easy enough to arrange.

Just threaten to take the guns away and wait for everyone to come out of their bunkers.

It has been tried. There was a group that protested with guns back in the 60’s against a government that they considered out of control and against gun control laws. Those protests triggered some legislation to more tightly control guns, which then caused the NRA to start its continuing lobbying effort against gun control…

It’s funny. Americans online are largely saying “If one more person in that cinema had a gun, the death toll would have been much lower”.
Amongst my family and friends the reaction is “If one fewer person in that cinema had guns, the death toll would have been much lower”.

The pro-gun lobby IS the citizenry of the US. Guns are very popular and the anti-gun crowd is a very small, but vocal group. This is not a 50/50 split of the country along liberal/conservative lines. It is part of the very fabric of the country. Even today the talk of gun control is fading fast after the latest shooting and is mostly coming from New York news media, which is not representative of the country as a whole.

There are estimated to be 90 guns for every 100 citizens, not every adult, every US citizen, man, woman, little baby in the county. That’s a lot of guns.

Either a Colorado type shooting happening every week for a year or a lame duck president and congress with a huge majority of people leaving office. Of course that would be overturned either by the court or by the incoming administration.

So… Things will have to get a lot worse gun violence wise.

For all the non-American people on this board, there are two quotes that in my opinion encapsulate the American pro-gun position. If you take a little time to think about these statements, I think you’ll have a much better idea of our culture.

Various people have said these ideas in slightly different forms, so I won’t bother to give a specific cite.

Statement #1–“The people should not be afraid of the government, but rather, the government should be afraid of the people.”

Statement #2–“A right unexercised is a right lost.”