I’ve often wondered about the rapid shift in the center of our issue to more strongly favor gun rights over gun control. It happened very quickly. In the space of just a bit more than a decade, we went from the high water mark for the gun control movement to the gun control movement being at death’s door, and needing to reinvent itself to achieve relevance.
I’ve seen some data that shows a generation gap on the issue, with the very old tending to favor gun control at a greater rate than other age demographics. This leads me to a postulate: the Greatest Generation were considerably more supportive of gun control than Baby Boomers and subsequent generations are. The shift in the center that’s happened in the issue has come about because the Greatest Generation has largely died off in the past decade.
Another postulate: if there was a generational shift in the issue, to what extent did racism and xenophobia play into it? Using my grandparents as my example from that generation, they were far more openly racist than is socially acceptable today. To what extent did support for gun control by older generations exist because of social anxieties about blacks asserting their rights and demanding to be treated as equal members of society, along with the social unrest that went with that?
Keep in mind I’m speaking generally, and there have always been a separation between elites and ordinary people. But I think it’s a safe observation to suggest that elites in the 30s through 60s were considerably more supportive of gun control than they have been since. Another postulate I would put out there is that our current success is not so much driven by a generational change, as the fall of the Northeast as an economic and cultural center, and the rise of the South, Midwest, and Mountain States, which have never had a cultural inclination toward gun control. In short, Southern elites are not out-eliting our elites, which I consider a good thing.