As you might imagine, lots of polls are coming out following the Sandy Hook school killings. A solid majority of Americans are against high-capacity ammunition clips, and a slim majority favor stricter gun laws.
While support for stricter gun laws has not changed significantly, one significant development is that Americans are increasingly seeing mass shootings like this as a societal issue. As I mentioned yesterday, over here in Europe, we see the same TV shows, the same movies and have the same video games yet we don’t see the same number of mass shootings. They happen, but not with anywhere near the same regularity as in the US.
Something else is going on. It maybe the availability of guns. It may also be something in the American character, or culture, that’s more violent.
The center-right is blaming the problem on Hollywood and video games, but that doesn’t seem to work when you view this issue globally. It’s more than just TV and video games.
The public by 52-43 percent sees the atrocity in Connecticut as indicating “broader problems in American society” rather than just the isolated act of a troubled individual. Many fewer saw the shootings last July in Aurora, Colorado, or last year in Tucson, Arizona, as signs of a broader societal problem, 24 and 31 percent, respectively, in polls by the Pew Research Center.
Views were more similar to today’s after the shootings at Virginia Tech in 2007, when the public divided, 46-47 percent in a Pew poll, on whether broader societal problems were at play. But the Connecticut shootings mark the first of these incidents that’s been seen by more than half the public as indicating a broader problem.
Notably, political and ideological differences are muted in this assessment: Half or more of Democrats, independents and Republicans alike see a broader societal problem (51, 52 and 57 percent, respectively). It’s also about half both among liberals and conservatives.
Meanwhile over at Fox, Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes can’t seem to agree on the issue of gun control. Murdoch is somewhat surprisingly in favor of gun control, while Ailes is holding firm on his preference of guns over people.