The Secret History of Gun Rights: How Lawmakers Armed the NRA
For The New York Times, Mike McIntire reports on a previously unknown history of how the nation got to where it is now in terms of gun control. McIntire writes that a small group of lawmakers served as leaders of the NRA, “helping erect a firewall that impedes gun control today.” Starting in the 1970s, politicians pushed the group to fund legal work that enshrined policy protections that would later inform Supreme Court decisions. After Congress voted down gun restrictions following the 1999 Columbine shooting, one NRA executive gushed about politicians’ successful involvement in the organization. PRRI data reveals that only 42% of Republicans and white Republicans support stricter gun control measures, compared to the vast majorities of Democrats (87%) and independents (65%).
The Future of Abortion in Florida Could Hinge on Hispanic Voters
Mel Leonor Barclay for 19th News reports that a proposed ballot measure in Florida, backed by a collection of reproductive rights groups, would guarantee the right to an abortion until fetal viability. To do so, the coalition needs to secure the signatures of one million Florida voters in favor of the proposed ballot measure, and earn 60% of the vote in November 2024. Eduardo Gamarra, a politics professor at Florida International University in Miami, said, “Abortion in the lens of civil rights and oppression has not particularly resonated with voters who identify more with the notion of achievement and the American Dream, and may have fled violence or political instability.” PRRI data finds that the majority (61%) of Hispanic Catholics said abortion should be legal in all or most cases, yet less than half (44%) of Hispanic Protestants say the same.
Feminists Have Long Supported Trans Rights
PRRI Public Fellow Kelsy Burke, Ph.D., writes in a new analysis for The Washington Post that recent PRRI research shows the vast majority of feminists support transgender rights. Burke writes that while social media is ablaze with debates about TERFs (“trans exclusionary radical feminists”), PRRI’s latest Gender and Politics report finds that 81% of self-identified feminist respondents oppose laws that prevent children from receiving medical care for a gender transition. Overall, 56% of Americans as a whole oppose these laws. Likewise, only 1 in 10 feminists surveyed believe it is never appropriate to teach that some people are transgender in K-12 public schools, while 1 in 3 Americans overall agreed.
Ivy League Researcher Says Spirituality Is Good for Mental Health
NPR’S Rachel Martin interviews Lisa Miller, a professor in the Clinical Psychology Program at Teachers College, Columbia University, whose research shows that having a spiritual life is good for your mental health. Miller has found that the protective benefit of personal spirituality, meaning someone who says their personal spirituality is very important, is 80% against addiction. This means they have 80% decreased relative risk for the DSM diagnosis of addiction to drugs or alcohol. Researchers also found that the brain responded to the recollection of spiritual stimuli in the same way that it does to a hug from a relative when you’re young.
Read PRRI’s spotlight “‘Identity Politics’ and Transgender Equality” survey here.