Returning to our recent Liberty Update commentary on how socialist advocates rely on a mythical misimpression…
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Image of the Day: Sources of Wealth in the U.S. Versus Elsewhere

Returning to our recent Liberty Update commentary on how socialist advocates rely on a mythical misimpression of European realities, The Wall Street Journal offered a nice snapshot of the sources of wealth for billionaires in the U.S versus Europe, China and Russia:

. [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="600"] Sources of Wealth[/caption]

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So would socialists like Bernie Sanders prefer that wealth derive more from inheritance and political connections as they do in Europe or Russia, as opposed to business founders and financial advisors who help American workers and retirees benefit from record stock markets?…[more]

November 25, 2019 • 12:35 pm

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Poll: Support for Gun Control Falls to Record Low Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, October 27 2011
This week, Gallup…released a survey showing that public support for stricter firearms laws has fallen to a record low.

Not all current societal trends are negative, although it’s often easy to overlook that fact. 

Moment by moment, federal spending heaps another mountain of debt upon us.  Civic virtue appears increasingly rare, as public discourse becomes increasingly lurid.  Meanwhile, the Obama Administration plumbs new depths of economic illiteracy, and the not-unrelated epidemic of “Occupy Wall Street” hordes ooze a sense of entitlement and demand something for nothing. 

Nevertheless, it’s important to maintain a sense of optimism and recognize positive trends.  After all, our generation’s most beloved conservative, Ronald Reagan, relied largely upon an unrelenting sense of optimism and sunny demeanor in building his legacy. 

This week, Gallup provided cause for such cheer when it released a survey showing that public support for stricter firearms laws has fallen to a record low. 

In 1959, when Dwight Eisenhower was still President, Gallup first asked Americans the question, “Do you think there should or should not be a law that would ban the possession of handguns, except by the police and other authorized persons?”  Believe it or not, respondents that year favored a handgun ban by a 60% to 36% margin, almost two-to-one.  It wasn’t until 1968 when the public evenly split on the question, but at no time since that date have more Americans favored than opposed a handgun ban. 

This year, opposition to a handgun ban reached a new high of 73%, and support for a ban reached a new low of 26%. 

More broadly, support for firearm restrictions in general also fell to a new low.  Gallup asked respondents, “In general, do you feel that the laws covering the sale of firearms should be made more strict, less strict or kept as they are now?”  Only 43% favor stricter firearm sales restrictions as a general proposition, whereas 55% prefer that such laws become less strict or remain as they now stand. 

That is a significant reversal over just the past two decades, as a surprising 78% of Americans favored stricter gun laws as recently as 1991. 

Additionally, a 53% to 43% majority of Americans also oppose a ban on so-called “assault” rifles: 

“For the first time, Gallup finds greater opposition to than support for a ban on semiautomatic guns or assault rifles, 53% to 43%.  In the initial asking of this question in 1996, the numbers were nearly reversed, with 57% for and 42% against an assault rifle ban.  Congress passed such a ban in 1994, but the law expired when Congress did not act to renew it in 2004.  Around the time the law expired, Americans were about evenly divided in their views.” 

Also by a record margin, Americans today prefer “that the government enforce existing laws more strictly and not pass new laws (60%) rather than pass new gun laws in addition to stricter enforcement of existing laws (35%).”  Moreover, increased opposition to firearm restrictions is not limited by region, gender or political preference.  Rather, as summarized by Gallup, “All key subgroups show less support for stricter gun laws, and for a ban on handguns, than they did 20 years ago.” 

Humorously but perhaps unsurprisingly, Gallup struggles to explain the results of this year’s survey: 

“This is the case even as high-profile incidents of gun violence continue in the United States, such as the January shootings at a meeting for U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona.  The reasons for the shift do not appear related to reactions to the crime situation, as Gallup’s crime poll shows no major shifts in trends in Americans’ perceptions of crime, fear of crime, or reports of being victimized by crime in recent years.  Nor does it appear to be tied to an increase in gun ownership, which has been around 40% since 2000, though it is a slightly higher 45% in this year’s update.  Perhaps the trends are a reflection of the American public’s acceptance of guns.  In 2008, Gallup found widespread agreement with the idea that the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right of Americans to own guns.  Americans may also be moving toward more libertarian views in some areas, one example of which is great support for legalizing marijuana use.  Diminished support for gun control laws may also be tied to the lack of major gun control legislation efforts in Congress in recent years.” 

With distrust of government reaching record highs, it defies logic to claim that Congressional gun control legislation would somehow generate popular support.  And to correlate increasing respect for Second Amendment rights with some sort of new marijuana tolerance sounds like something out of “Occupy Wall Street” itself. 

The more likely explanation is that decades of experience have demonstrated the truth of Professor John Lott’s adage “More Guns, Less Crime,” and that Americans trust the Founding Fathers and the liberties they enshrined in the Constitution more than bureaucrats who seek to restrict the rights of everyone but themselves. 

Whatever the explanation, we should recognize and be thankful for this remarkable social trend. 

Question of the Week   
Where is the USS Arizona Memorial located?
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Quote of the Day   
 
"If you loved the first round of impeachment hearings, do Democrats have a treat for you: Liberal college professors yelling! ...The sole voice of reason was provided by legal scholar and George Washington University professor Jonathan Turley, who took great liberty to criticize Trump and his posture toward Ukraine but who nonetheless said it didn't rise to the level of impeachment.'I get it,' Turley…[more]
 
 
—Eddie Scarry, Washington Examiner Columnist, in the New York Post
— Eddie Scarry, Washington Examiner Columnist, in the New York Post
 
Liberty Poll   

Should House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff be investigated for subpoenaing and publishing call log records (with no details or context) of another member of congress, the president's attorney, a journalist and others?