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Armed and afraid

basketoguns.JPGIt wouldn't really bother me if, say, Common Cause's membership was composed of the intensely paranoid. It's a bit more unsettling when it's the National Rifle Association:

Gun owners continue to worry that President Obama "will attempt to ban the sales of guns in the United States at some point while he is president." Asked about this, 44 percent of NRA members said Obama "definitely" would and 35 percent said he "probably" would.

That comes from an E.J. Dionne column asserting gun owners are more reasonable than is commonly assumed. The problem, however, is that their abstract support for modest gun control efforts won't survive two seconds beyond the moment that Obama himself voices support for one of these policies. They mistrust Obama a lot more than they support background checks, and the NRA aggressively encourages that attitude.

Photo credit: Mark Ralston/Getty.

By Ezra Klein  |  December 10, 2009; 5:31 PM ET
 
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Comments

Small sample size, smaller still if you limit it to NRA members.

Still, I wonder if it asked people whether they thought Obama was going to put massive surtaxes on bullets? I've heard that one, and it makes me wonder if NRA members can distinguish Barack Obama, the black guy who's president, from Chris Rock, the black guy who tells jokes.

Posted by: pseudonymousinnc | December 10, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

You have to distinguish between NRA members (i.e. people that think that the repeal of the second ammendment at the hands of Obama is imminent) vs. non-NRA member gun owners (who may even be Republicans) who are just a teeny bit more reasonable.

The NRA uses the gun issue to bludgeon their fraidy-cat members into donating more money. Not everyone who excercises their individual right to bear arms is Charleton Heston.

Posted by: mezcalero | December 10, 2009 7:07 PM | Report abuse

what problem do you have with "Common Cause?"

http://www.commoncause.org

Posted by: jeeze56 | December 10, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Assume gun owners are more reasonable than commonly assumed, this does not mean that on the whole they are still freakishly unreasonable nuts. It's because they are paranoid that they have and want guns.

Posted by: bcbulger | December 11, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

--"It wouldn't really bother me if, say, Common Cause's membership was composed of the intensely paranoid. It's a bit more unsettling when it's the National Rifle Association"--

Wassamatter, Klein? Are *you* paranoid?

It's the "unarmed" utopia of Washington, D.C. that's the murder capital of the U.S.

Posted by: msoja | December 11, 2009 11:57 PM | Report abuse

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