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Outside Capital Hill, Gun control is not as partisan as you might expect

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One of the points I wanted to make in my previous post on this subject is that gun control and gun rights lives a bit outside the typical left/right Democrat/Republican lines. Advocates on all sides seem to miss this. I often find that people that know I support gun rights usually assume that I also must hate Barack Obama and love Ronald Reagan. Likewise, people that know some of my left-leaning positions assume that I must also be against gun rights and support more gun control. Neither side gets it.

Let me tell you a little secret: they are living among you. Yes, there are lot of people that aren't going on Piers Morgan, or Fox News, or wherever, that are, excuse the pun, gun shy about new gun laws. They may not shout it from rooftops, but, quietly, they are gun rights advocates or at least they look at gun control legislation with a critical eye. These are soccer moms, grandmothers, and average people that perhaps have a gun at home for defense or think their daughter or mother should have the right to do so.  They might not be staunch NRA supporters. They might even watch Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. They aren't the "gun-nuts" you see on TV. They don't consider themselves part of the problem and they certainly don't support laws that make them out as criminals all of a sudden.

Nate Silver noted that "the profile of gun owners defies some of the stereotypes that urban liberals might assign to them." For example, gun ownership is highest among the middle class, regular old every-day folks, and it is not tied to being religiously devout.

The question on gun ownership was dropped from the 2012 national exit poll, but looking at the 2008 data above, note that 42% of all respondents said they own guns - and 31% of Democrats. That's a big number and it's one of the main reasons many politicians try to stay away from the gun control issue. It's not the "fringe gun nut" issue that it is portrayed as. There are a lot of "closet" gun rights supporters. Casting anyone that owns guns as an uneducated, unenlightened, "nut job" at best, if not an outright menace, can make people not want to be outspoken about their gun ownership.

Let me put it this way: At least one of your neighbors, on one side or the other, has guns. That's what a real gun owner looks like. Do they come across as crazy "gun nuts" to you?
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