If you want gun control, you've got to hit the polls as hard as gun owners do, according to new study on American politics. Although gun owners are a minority in America, they are passionate voters, so their voice gets heard much clearer and much more often than the majority of Americans who support gun control.
"Part of the reason majority opinions on gun control legislation aren't turning into policy is that gun owners are a very strong political group who hold a lot of weight and hold a lot of influence despite being a minority in American politics," said Abbie Vegter, a political science graduate student who co-authored the study.
These gun owners take their Second Amendment rights very seriously. In fact, they see gun ownership as a part of both their personal and political identities.
The study looked at gun owners' participation in presidential elections from 1972 to 2012. Over that time, this minority group became increasingly active in politics. And while most detractors of the Second Amendment tend to focus their criticisms on groups like the National Rifle Association, Vegter says their data shows the spotlight needs to be broadened as only one in five gun owners are members of the NRA.
"For individuals, especially individual gun control advocates, in order to make a difference, you need to match this level of mobilization and participation," Vegter said. "There is also a lesson there for politicians who I think traditionally have not seen gun owners as a political group to be addressed."
So instead of if advocates for gun control really want to make a difference, they need to stop complaining about it and start casting ballots.