Just a Third of Americans View COVID-19 as a Top-Five Priority, Poll Shows

Less than 40% of Americans view the coronavirus as a top-five issue to address in 2022, a new poll shows.

The Associated Press-NORC survey found that just 33% of Americans labeled virus concerns as a top issue, down 16 points from a year ago. On the other hand, 68% of respondents said that the economy was the top issue on which to focus this year, with subtopics ranging from inflation to unemployment and the national debt.

The results come as inflation has hit a multi-decade high and supply chain bottlenecks continue to affect Americans’ lives. However, it also comes as the Omicron coronavirus variant has fueled daily case counts near record-highs, with the U.S. now averaging over 650,000 new infections per day.

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Commentary: 12 Incidents of Defensive Gun Use Prove Armed Civilians That Make Situations Safer

I testified earlier this month at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Chicago on underlying causes of the spikes in gun violence in that city and around the country.

Although Sen. Dick Durbin’s interruptions of my opening statement stole the show in many respects, it shouldn’t be overlooked that the Illinois Democrat also solicited disparaging remarks on the right to keep and bear arms from another witness—Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown.  

In direct response to one of Durbin’s questions, Brown remarked that armed civilians make police officers’ jobs more difficult, and that he never has seen a lawfully armed civilian make a situation safer.

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Pennsylvania Governor Blocks Conceal-Carry Without a License

Gov. Tom Wolf has vetoed legislation that would have allowed residents to carry a concealed firearm without a license, claiming the measure would exacerbate gun violence in the commonwealth.

“This legislation removes the requirement that an individual obtain a license, and with it, the ability of law enforcement to conduct a background investigation,” Wolf said. “Removal of the licensing background investigation will hinder the ability of law enforcement to prevent individuals who should not be able to carry a firearm concealed from doing so.

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Commentary: Despite What Biden Says, Guns Factor in Only a Small Percentage of Violent Crimes

Police Car

In response to sharp increases in violent crime, President Biden stressed again last week that his administration is focused on “stemming the flow of firearms used to commit violent crimes.”  But critics warn that this “guns first” approach ignores a basic fact – about 92% of violent crimes in America do not involve firearms.

Although firearms were used in about 74% of homicides in 2019, they comprise less than 9% of violent crimes in America.

The vast majority of violent offenses – including robberies, rapes and other sex crimes – almost always involve other weapons or no weapons at all.

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Commentary: ‘No Evidence’ That Gun Buyback Programs Reduce Gun Violence, New Economic Study Finds

handgun with ammo

Shortly before Christmas in 2018, a woman named Darlene voluntarily turned in a 9mm pistol to the Baltimore Police Department. It was just one of about 500 firearms the department collected that day as part of the city’s gun buyback program, which paid citizens somewhere between $25 and $500 in exchange for their firearms and high-capacity magazines.

Darlene, however, had a confession. She was turning in her 9mm, she told a local news reporter, so she could “upgrade to a better weapon.”

Like what? the reporter asked.

“I don’t know,” Darlene said. “I haven’t quite decided.”

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Top Republicans Seem Open to Some Kind of Gun Control

Congressional Democrats and President Joe Biden have vowed to act on gun control in the aftermath of two mass shootings that left 18 people dead, but despite their majorities in Congress, Democrats’ proposed bills would be extraordinarily unlikely to overcome a Republican Senate filibuster.

Partisan gridlock on guns is nothing new. No major gun control legislation has passed in over 25 years, when Congress passed a 10-year assault weapons ban under former President Bill Clinton. But despite the constant stalemates, some Republicans have offered alternative plans, meaning that the possibility of some form of bipartisan gun legislation may still exist.

Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey said Tuesday that while he did not think the two bills passed by the House would overcome a filibuster, there was still opportunity for compromise.

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