THROW IT TO THE GROUND: Why Opposition to Gun Control has Increased over the Last Half-Century

groundEconomist Bryan Caplan notes that support for gun control — specifically, banning handguns or pistols — has decreased dramatically since the 1950s and 1960s. Back in 1959 Gallup reported that 60% of Americans favored banning possession of “pistols and revolvers,” while now 74% oppose banning “the possession of handguns,” except by police.

Caplan seems puzzled by this substantial change in opinion. I think it’s explainable by two developments.

(1) Violent crime roughly tripled between 1965 and 1975. As Caplan’s graph of Gallup’s results shows, majorities came to oppose handgun bans during this period. Americans saw more need to protect themselves.

(2) The success of laws permitting citizens to carry concealed weapons, starting with the Florida law …

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