The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


The Pollster

Americans Support Gun Rights and Gun Bans

By Jon Cohen
In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court today overturned a 32-year-old District of Columbia law limiting private gun ownership, for the first time expressly extending the Constitution's Second Amendment to private citizens.

That ruling is also a split decision with respect to where the public stands on these issues.

In a recent Washington Post poll, 72 percent of all Americans said they believe individuals have gun rights under the Second Amendment, that such protections are not limited to "militias." Twenty percent thought the constitutional guarantee covers "only the rights of the states to maintain militias."

But 58 percent in that national poll supported a D.C.-like ban on private handguns and trigger lock requirements; 38 percent opposed those restrictions. (In a January Post poll in the District itself, even more, 76 percent, favored the law, including 60 percent who said they were "strongly" behind the city ordinance.)

Continue reading at Behind the Numbers»

Posted at 11:30 AM ET on Jun 26, 2008  | Category:  The Pollster
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Previous: Candidates React: D.C. Gun Ban Struck Down | Next: McCain Praises Supreme Court Gun Decision

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My God! repeal any ammendment in the bill of rights? Are you serious? If you think our power brokers are corrupt now tell them how to do away with the bill of rights. Additionally, an attempt to repeal any of the first 10 could easily touch off another concord and lexington! Good God I really didn't think even you guys (liberal elitist who know what is best for us regardless of what we think) would go that far.

Posted by: dirigo | June 27, 2008 11:41 AM

The 2nd Ammendment simply points out that "the people" have a right to bear arms. Further it points out that governments, kings, clintons, should keep their paws off this very important civil right. Wonder if McBama gets that?

Posted by: Jimk | June 26, 2008 6:31 PM


Criminals would agree with you. It would make their profession much safer.

Posted by: Bruce from Indiana | June 26, 2008 6:14 PM

Amen Matthew! I agree... and you did a much better job of articulating what I meant to say.

Posted by: Robert | June 26, 2008 3:16 PM

Actually niether the Constitution nor the Bill of Rights "grant" or "guarantee" us rights. The Bill of Rights addresses rights, not the Constitution. The Bill of Rights 1. merely recognize rights that exist independently (pre-existing) of any government and 2. bind the government in order to protect us from its own intrusions. The simple misunderstanding of these purposes has been at the crux of opponents' arguments in all 2nd Amendment cases.

An exercise: Notice how the phrase "the people" in all amendments is clearly used and understood to mean the individual citizen. I cannot comprehend how anyone could think "the people" in the 2nd Amendment would mean anything else.

Posted by: Matthew | June 26, 2008 3:01 PM

Jon, The Court didn't "extend the right to private citizens". We enjoy all of the rights granted by The Constitution from the time it, and each of its amendments, were ratified.

The Court merely provided interpretation (and clarification) on the meaning. That's their role.

They don't "grant us rights"... we already have them... as US citizens... unless uninformed politicians (who probably get all their info from the Washington Post) take them away from us.

Posted by: Robert | June 26, 2008 2:30 PM


I agree with you. I am a DC resident and legal shotgun owner (and a liberal Dem to boot). The problem with the pro-gun control lobby is that they have focused all their efforts on trying to get around the 2nd amendment. If there is really a consensus that the 2A doesn't apply anymore, then they should focus their efforts on a repeal or alteration of it.

Posted by: D C Guy | June 26, 2008 2:23 PM

This is not a contradiction at all. The 2nd amendment does guarantee the right to own guns. However, it's about time to repeal the 2nd amendment.

Posted by: Scottilla | June 26, 2008 2:01 PM

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