Public Views On Gun Control

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Gun Control: Who is in Control? In a democracy, it is the responsibility of state and federal legislatures to represent what the public wants and to then craft public policy around these opinions, while maintaining the good of the society as a whole. However, the reflection of public policy based on public opinion is not seen with the issue of gun control. The Second Amendment of the United States guarantees citizens “the right of the people to keep and bear arms” with few restrictions (Ginsberg). Yet, when asked by an ABC News Poll in April 2007, "Do you favor or oppose stricter gun control laws in this country?" 61 % of Americans responded yes, confirming the notion that policy is not always an accurate reflection of opinion (“Guns”).…show more content…
Some public opinion on gun control stems from the idea that all guns are evil and serves no other purpose than violence, and the increased violence in the media causes the public to believe certain things (Volokh). In a news caption titled: "Handguns Are Used in Most U.S. Assaults and Robberies," the BBC news reported, "Handguns are used in two-thirds of robberies and assaults...according to statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigations." Yet, according to the Justice Department's National Crime Victimization Survey (2005 data), handguns are used in 5.4 percent of U.S. assaults and 26.3 percent of robberies (Volokh). This misinformation is seen again in the L.A. Times, which reported that "[D.C. Officials] argue handguns are involved in most violent crime." But the NCVS data reports that handguns are used in fewer than 8 percent of all crimes of violence. The constant over exposure to gun violence in the media only serves to further the anti-gun sentiment and the desire for stricter…show more content…
As a result, popular sovereignty in American democracy is greatly inhibited. The idea of popular sovereignty is closely related to the idea of direct democracy, where the individual has absolute power to make law. In current American government indirect democracy through representatives is utilized, leaving room for public interest groups, like the NRA, to sway legislatures through whatever means they see fit. The role that interest groups play would be significantly decreased if they had the responsibility of persuading a majority of the American people towards their cause. The differing of gun control policy from public opinion clearly displays how sovereignty is most commonly placed in the legislature. It is this organization, rather than the people, that has the ultimate power to make law. Although the American democracy claims to base its government on popular sovereignty, the reality is that the people have little ultimate authority. Most decisions, even fundamental decisions, are left to the legislatures. It is usually the legislature that controls the Constitution and the extent of popular authority is usually at this body’s discretion. Even where popular consent is required, the

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