Tag Archives: gun control
The death of the assault weapons ban (which has only been delayed by Harry Reid’s change of heart) provides a stark illustration of two basic principles of American politics. “An interested and active minority will always defeat an apathetic and/or inactive majority.” A closely related principle is that voters’ willingness to hold politicians accountable on a particular issue depends on the “proximity” of the issue to their lives and interests.
The re-emergence of the gun control debate in America has reminded me of a book I used last year in an undergraduate course on critical thinking and persuasive writing. The book, by sociologist Duncan Watts, is called Everything is Obvious: Once You Know The Answer. For an excellent and thorough review of the book, go here. Watts makes a compelling and sophisticated argument about the counter-productivity of relying on “common sense” when trying to understand or solve uncommon problems.
There have been a number of posts at the premier blog site of political science research themonkeycage.org concerning the prospects for gun control in the wake of the tragedy at Newtown, CT. How much influence does the NRA have? Might it matter that the tragedy happened in New England, not the pro-gun west or south? How soon will we move on to the next news item? I want to share a selection of the posts to show some of the research the discipline of political science has contributed on this question.
Political scientist E.E. Schattscheider taught us that for political under dogs the key to victory lies in “expanding the scope of conflict.” When the U.S. experiences a massacre of innocents, like the one in Connecticut on Friday, expanding the scope of the political conflict on the issue of gun control becomes possible.
The latest poll in the Brown-Warren US Senate race shows very little movement in the race. While Warren’s favorability ratings rose more than Brown’s, there isn’t anything “game changing” about the numbers in this MassINC poll, which was taken between July 19th and 22nd.