Two interesting stories on gun control surfaced this week. First it looks like Canada is scrapping their long gun registry, which was plagued by egregious cost overruns and no clear evidence of effectiveness. Second, Gallup polling now shows the lowest support ever for gun bans (26% for a handgun ban), including a new low for an "assault weapons" ban.
The fact that American attitudes toward firearms have become more favorable shouldn't be surprizing, however the underlying rationale should be. Gallup notes the pro-gun attitude doesn't seem to be related to any perception in the increase of crime or even a significant increase in firearms ownership. They can only guess the reasons but do note "Americans may also be moving toward more libertarian views", citing increased support for marijuana legalization. I don't know what Gallup trends on attitudes towards gay marriage, but I'll lay bets that more Americans have a positive view toward it than anytime in the past.
Now let us look at Canada, a nation many proponents of big American government claim we need to emulate. From the linked editorial, it would appear the disastrous long registry is just one of many perceived government overreaches. Hmmm... are Canadians becoming more libertarian too?
So have Americans become more pro-gun because Americans have become more libertarian? No, that's probably backwards: Americans are becoming more libertarian because of their attitudes on guns... and marijuana and gay marriage and.... That's my theory, anyway. When state gun control laws started to become less strict over the pass two decades, the government-knows-best, gun control proponents always screamed about "blood in the streets." Except that never happened. In fact, crime has been going down as gun laws have been liberalized. Maybe Americans are thinking, "If the government-knows-best types are tragically wrong about gun control, what else could they be seriously mistaken about?"