Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- On 2 September 2018, Kansas University released a summation of a study on how gun owners affect politics. The study will be presented at the American Political Science Association annual meeting in 2018, in Boston.
A problem all scientists face is overcoming assumptions about reality they have already made. It is particularly true in social sciences such as political science. In such studies, it is very difficult to keep the world view of the person studying a subject from influencing the study.
Most political scientists today subscribe to the Progressive political philosophy. It seems to be the case in the study of gun owners.
Consider the statements in the press release.
“Part of the reason majority opinions on gun control legislation aren't turning into policy is that gun owners are a very strong political group who hold a lot of weight and hold a lot of influence despite being a minority in American politics,” said Abbie Vegter, a graduate student in political science.
Vegter is collaborating on the research with KU political science professors Don Haider-Markel and Mark Joslyn. They are presenting their findings, “Motivated Voices: Gun Ownership and the Propensity for Political Participation,” Sept. 2 as part of the American Political Science Association's annual meeting in Boston.
In the progressive philisophical view of politics, elite experts are supposed to decide how society should be changed. Then the media “manufactures consent” by manipulating public opinion. Once public opinion is moved in the direction desired, government officials are freed to make the changes desired.
What political scientist professors are seeing perplexes them, because when the progressive media momentarily succeeds in manipulating popular opinion, politicians are not creating the progressive policy changes the media desires.
In this case, those changes are for more and more strict controls on the ownership and use of firearms.
An excellent study of the situation, and a book based on the study, has answered their questions. It is “Rise of the Anti-media” by academic Brian Anse Patrick.
Gun owners are a large minority of the national population. It is difficult to know exactly how many gun owners there are. There is no national list of gun owners, gun owners resist being on an official list. Gun owners perceive several strong reasons to fail to inform people who ask them if they are gun owners.
Most surveys put the number of gun ownership at about 30%, or 100 million people. Some estimates have been as low as 50 million. Some people estimate as high as 150 million. Peoples estimate of how many people around them own guns is higher than what the surveys show. Using the conservative figure of 80 million adult gun owners, gun owners are a potential majority of voters in most elections.
In the recent study, the researchers examined the political behavior of gun owners versus non-gun owners in presidential election years from 1972 to 2012. Primarily, they found that gun owners have increasingly become more politically active during that time. The findings could be key in determining why major gun control legislation in Congress has remained elusive, even after mass shootings such as Newtown in 2012 and others, even when a majority of people tend to support stricter gun laws.
The study authors found exactly what Brian Anse Patrick found in Rise of the Anti-media. Gun owners have reacted to political threats to the existence of their culture by organizing, forming their own media and communications networks, and resisting the manipulation of their worldview by progressive media.
“Our major conclusion establishes gun owners as a distinct social group, and we see how that social group influences their likelihood of participating in politics,” Vegter said.
Much of political conversation surrounding guns tends to focus on large groups like the National Rifle Association's influence, but Vegter said the study's results paint a different picture.
“Only one in five gun owners belong to the NRA, so we think there is something else going on than just the NRA when it comes to mobilization,” she said.
The study does not detail how the authors arrived at the misinformation about the NRA. The NRA has, at most, six million official members. If one in five gun owners were an NRA member, that would be only 30 million gun owners in the United States. No one believes that low a number is correct.
About fourteen million gun owners identify as members of the NRA. Those could include former members, members of households of NRA members, or it may include those who agree with the NRA but have not become official members. The professors are probably talking about the number of NRA self identifiers.
Progressives think of gun owners as groups of people to be manipulated. The classical model of United States society is that people with common views and goals organize and create organizations to represent them. It is a “bottom up” approach. The reaction of gun owners appears to follow the classical model more closely than the progressive model.
Gun owners' life experience is at odds with what progressives want to have them believe. Manipulation of opinion after shootings temporarily pushes into majorities who tell pollsters they want more gun legislation.
Motivated gun owners tell politicians not to enact more legislation. In the last 30 years, gun owners have been successful in restoring Second Amendment rights more often than they have been restricted.
Grass roots organization is the opposite of manufacturing consent. It is demand rising from the population, instead of change being imposed on the population by manipulation from above. It is no accident the political left accuses the NRA of manipulating the minds of gun owners. That is the progressive model of reality.
Brian Anse Patrick has formulated the answer the professors are looking for. New media and means of communication have given rise to a gun culture that resists the progressive model.
©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.