A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
Lately there has been much debate over what that means. As a firearms enthusiast and social media analyst, I wanted to cut through the noise and listen to the unscripted, unsolicited, social media conversation on guns.
Back in November when I sat down with Glenn on TheBlaze TV, our data showed that 64 percent of non-party affiliated voters indicated positive sentiment towards the Second Amendment. And many indicating negative sentiment were only negative on certain sub issues, for example fully automatic weapons. The call for outright gun bans were few. Current data suggests that support for the Second Amendment has risen slightly.
I first analyzed Twitter, and have to admit I was surprised. Hashtag #guncontrol did not bode well at all for the anti-gunners. Tweets were overwhelmingly in support of gun rights, with #guncontrol being used sarcastically. Gun control being the precursor to people control was the general sentiment, followed closely by personal protection. In fact, of the Tweets reviewed using #guncontrol, only a handful, less than 5 percent, were actually in support of more gun restrictions.
The same held true for the hashtags #2A and #SecondAmendment with 95+ percent in support of gun rights. Now, this isn’t to say that all of Twitter is pro-gun; #gunsense is predominantly anti-gun, but that is to be expected since it was created by the anti-gun lobby, and followed by those of like mind. I omitted it from my formal analysis as “gunsense” is not an issue or term in common use.
Moving on to Facebook, I took a look at the likes and chatter on both sides.
A recent study on Facebook demographics indicates that women comprise 53.3 percent of U.S. users, with those over 18 living in big anti-gun cities, (New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles were the top three respectively) accounting for the largest percentages. I was sure I would find powerful anti-gun sentiment on Facebook, but I was wrong.
My starting point was with the long time default leaders on the pro and anti-gun sides respectively: The National Rifle Association (NRA) and The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence (Brady Campaign). A quick review of likes and chatter indicated that the NRA’s official Facebook page enjoyed nearly 50 times more activity than the Brady Campaign’s official page. At the time of writing, the NRA page had 3,057,492 likes with 210,695 people talking about them. The Brady Campaign by comparison displayed 61,884 likes with only 4435 people talking.
The disparity was surprising, so I decided to analyze another well-known and generously funded anti-gun group, Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG). On MAIG’s official Facebook page, support was even worse. Only 20,692 likes and 116 talking. In simple terms, at the time I wrote this, the NRA had nearly 150 times more support, and well over 1,800 times more folks talking about them on social media than did billionaire Bloomberg’s group.
MAIG’s sister organization, Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense In America, did better with 147,630 likes. However, when compared to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), both Bloomberg groups again fell short as the NSSF realized 267,672 likes. Another Bloomberg satellite, Demand Action To End Gun Violence, came in a hair under the NSSF at 265,865 likes, but still 90 percent fewer likes than the NRA. In fact, the NRA had far more organic likes than all of the anti-gun groups I analyzed combined.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns and its satellite groups’ social media and web content appears to be designed to inflame, not educate. A video on Moms Demand Action’s homepage accuses Facebook of permitting illegal gun sales. A graphic in the video reads that on Facebook “anyone can buy and sell guns without criminal background checks.” That is simply untrue.
The process to purchase a firearm at a gun show or online is an identical process to that at a gun shop. Federal Firearms Licensees (FFL) comprise the majority of gun show dealers. A show dealer would have the buyer fill out Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives form 4473, then run the National Instant Criminal System (NICS) background check (some states waive NICS if the buyer holds a concealed weapons or other firearms license).
A firearm purchased on the internet must be shipped to an FFL, and the buyer would undergo the exact same process. Certain states have waiting periods, or provisions to waive them. The only legal exceptions to this process are face-to-face transactions between two private individuals. State law varies, so be sure to have proper information before engaging in a face to face firearms transaction. Handgunlaw.us is an excellent resource to point you in the right direction.
A report by Mayors Against Illegal Guns blames internet sales for gun crime. Calling this report flawed would be generous as it makes no mention of internet buyers being required to undergo the identical process they would at a gun shop. Furthermore, the report considers eight anecdotal criminal incidents, in which the suspects didn’t follow the existing laws, statistical evidence of a pervasive problem requiring sweeping unconstitutional public policies. Public policies identical to the laws broken in the first place.
Social media confirms what many already knew, and dispels the media myth that the anti-gun lobby has widespread support. We the People hold our guns close. Anti-gun politicians and groups, especially those backed by Michael Bloomberg, use social media to fear monger and misplace blame in order to push anti-gun legislation. What that they didn’t count on was the intelligence of Americans, and our resistance to statist politicians coming after our firearms; the very thing the Second Amendment exists to prevent.
Perhaps that’s why the NRA enjoys nearly 150 times more support on Facebook than Mayors Against Illegal Guns.