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Why doesn’t the government do what the people want?
After the recent deadly shooting at a Florida high school, many Americans are asking that question about the federal government’s firearms policy. Recent polls show that a majority of Americans support stronger gun laws – including tighter restrictions on purchasing and a ban on assault weapons – in the wake of the shooting.
Students demand that elected officials “do something,” and many adults echo that sentiment.
But policy does not always follow public opinion. Why are the public’s pleas on this and other issues ignored?
While about half the states have some form of initiative or referendum process to allow voters to directly enact policy, there is no such provision in the U.S. Constitution. And for those who advocate for repealing the Second Amendment as a way to restrict gun ownership in the U.S., that’s not accomplished directly by citizens, either. Such changes would have to be voted on by elected representatives in Congress and legislatures across the country.
The composition and rules of Congress are also crucial, especially in the Senate, where each state has two votes. This allocation of senators disproportionately represents the interests of less populous states.
Read the full article on gun control by Harry L. Wilson at GOOD Magazine