I’ve gotten a great deal of pushback to my “Candor” post in which I argued that a “functional majority” of the country in fact supports the gun status quo. It’s not big money or the gun lobby. It’s us. This is what we seem to want. One longtime reader said my comments amounted to a city slicker demonization of rural America. Another good friend said I was discounting the role of opinion shaping institutions like Fox News. And yet another said I was mistaking preference for inertia.
I took these criticisms seriously because these are each serious people. As so often is the case the disagreements are as much semantic as they are based on different readings of the facts at hand. I said a “functional majority” since I’m pretty sure if we held a plebiscite the status quo wouldn’t come out on top. But we don’t govern by plebiscite. Pro-gun America has all sorts of built in advantages — regionalism, the rural-urban split, intensity and a lot more. Inertia is certainly a big factor too. And what about all the polls that show overwhelming, sometimes verging on unanimous support for things like red flag laws and background checks?