Outlook on Gun Policy Uncertain

Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Zach Gibson/Getty Images


We ran the numbers: There are 603 news articles covering this topic. 2% (14) are left leaning, 26% (156) center, 72% (433) right leaning.

President Trump has again reversed his position on background checks–telling reporters on Wednesday that he is willing to get behind background checks and work with the Democrats. However, he did warn that the Democrats might try to lead him down a “slippery slope” that may lead to even stricter gun regulations–perhaps referencing the Parkland plan for gun control reform.

On Wednesday morning, survivors of the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida unveiled a sweeping plan for gun control reform that they hope will influence the conversation in the 2020 presidential election. The policy, called A Peace Plan for a Safer America, outlines much more dramatic gun control measures than expanding background checks and enacting red flag laws. The bill also calls for a mandatory gun buyback program, the creation of a gun czar, higher fees on bulk firearm and ammunition purchases, and a ban on online gun sales. The proposal has already been endorsed by Beto O’Rourke, who has urged his fellow candidates to follow his lead.

The left-leaning media focused primarily on the proposal from March for Our Lives. “It’s bold. It’s nothing like anyone else is proposing. We are really setting audacious goals,” the Washington Post quote a survivor as saying. The article also noted that March for Our Lives has been focused on voter registration and outreach over the past year and a half, and are hoping to turn out large numbers of voters in the 2020 election.

Centrist news sources reported both on the Peace Plan and on Trump’s reversal on background checks. An NPR article on the Parkland students’ plan interviewed David Hogg, the co-founder of March for Our Lives, among others. "The fact that we keep getting caught up in debates and then nothing happens is what's getting Americans killed on a daily basis," Hogg told the news outlet. Another NPR article notes that Trump has again apparently reversed his position on background checks despite meetings with the NRA where he expressed support for the Second Amendment. “One difficulty in understanding the state of play has been Trump's own changing position,” the article says.

A right-leaning Fox News article frames the president’s view on gun control as coherent and reasonable and suggests that Democrats were demanding an all-or-nothing approach to the issue that made compromise impossible. The article begins “President Trump is open to stricter background check legislation, but Democrats are being unhelpful with their all-or-nothing approach, according to White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley.” Gidley said that the left believes that unless Trump is actively taking guns away from their owners that he is responsible for shooting deaths. Additionally, a right-leaning Fox article on the Parkland survivors’ plan emphasized the framing of the plan as a “Green New Deal but for guns.”