(CNN) — There will be no new gun laws after the Aurora shooting for the basic reason that the American people do not want them.
Over the past 20 years, support for gun control has collapsed in the United States.
Three-quarters of Americans want to keep the right to own handguns, weapons whose only function is to kill human beings at close range. In 1959, 60% of Americans wanted handguns banned outright for all but police officers.
Responding to public opinion, states have loosened gun laws to allow citizens to carry weapons with them almost anywhere they go. In Georgia, Arizona, Tennessee and Virginia, it’s legal to carry a gun into a bar. Guns and booze: What could go wrong?
But here’s the odd thing: At the same time as Americans have become more enthusiastic about gun rights, fewer and fewer Americans actually want to own a gun themselves.
In the 1990s, the proportion of Americans who kept a gun in the home tumbled from one-half to one-third. And while gun ownership has risen in the Obama years, it remains lower than in the 1960s when strong majorities of the American people demanded stricter laws.
How can we make sense of this weird divergence between beliefs and behavior?
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