How Gun Control Debate Has Changed Since Election

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Last week’s mass shooting at the Fort Lauderdale airport shows how much the conversation about gun violence has changed since the presidential election, the New York Times reports. Five people were killed, and many others were injured; Such carnage formerly prompted new calls for more restrictions on guns. Republicans are preparing to control the White House along with Congress. Donald Trump has promised to roll back gun restrictions. The most prominent gun measure before Congress is one that would allow people with concealed-weapon permits from one state to carry their weapons to other states. The Times asked Morning Consult, a media and polling firm, to survey two groups: some of the country’s leading experts on gun violence, and a representative sample of the electorate. The survey asked dozens of social scientists, lawyers and public health officials how effective each of 29 policies would be in reducing firearm homicide deaths, regardless of their political feasibility or cost.

The newspaper published a matrix showing policies deemed both effective and popular appear.  The two policies ranked most effective were those requiring all sellers to run background checks on anyone who buys a gun, and barring gun sales to people convicted of violent misdemeanors, including domestic assaults. The experts were more skeptical of other much-debated proposals, including a national gun registry and an assault weapons ban. Universal background checks and keeping guns from convicted stalkers were supported by more than 85 percent of registered voters. Even the least popular idea, a law that would limit gun sales to people who had to demonstrate a “genuine need” for the weapon, was favored by nearly 50 percent. Gun experts who were opposed to gun control tended to particularly oppose blanket policies. “The essence of a ban is it applies to everyone equally, at least theoretically,” said criminologist Gary Kleck of Florida State University. “But in practice, criminals, being criminals, don’t obey the law.”

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