The new ABC News/Washington Post poll has the first somewhat-positive news for gun control advocates in a very, very long time. That’s what happens to an issue when both parties basically back away from it.
Here’s the number that moved: 54 percent of people say they favor “stricter gun control laws.” There aren’t many polls that ask such a generic question, but the 2011 Gallup Poll on guns found only 43 percent of Americans backing a ban on automatic weapons or stricter laws governing sales.
Here’s the number that might matter legislatively: 59 percent of people say they favor a ban on high-capacity magazines. That dial started to move after Jared Lee Loughner shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, and was stopped only when he had to reload, and a near-victim took the moment to hit him with a folding chair.
And here’s the solace-providing number for the NRA and Republicans: A plurality of voters, 49 percent, say that we need to enforce “current laws” and call it a day. That’s exactly what John Boehner says when this issue comes up.