- In the Senate, it takes 60 votes to pass most bills, and this measure had only 54 votes.
- Lawmakers represent geographical constituencies whose views may differ from those of the country as a whole.
- Politicians care less about poll respondents -- who may or may not vote -- than about people who take part in party primaries.
- Foes of gun control tend to be more intense in their views -- and more likely to take political action -- than supporters.
- Presidents have only limited ability to drive public opinion.
- The Madisonian system hinders the direct translation of public opinion into public policy.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Guns and Government
Even though some 90 percent of Americans favor expanded background checks for firearm sales, such a proposal went down to defeat. In The Christian Science Monitor, I explain several obstacles to the legislation: