“They could carry Mace if they really felt threatened.”

The fifty-year propaganda campaign has worked very well. A recent Star Tribune story on the status of Minnesota’s concealed-carry law was…interesting. First, it appears that the number of permits isn’t going to be as large as some predicted. Since the law went into effect about 8,000 new permits have been issued. Prior to the change from “may issue” to “shall issue” there were about 11,000 permits. According to the story, prior to passage the estimate for new permits went as high as 90,000, but by all appearances that is exceedingly high.

The interesting part of the story, though, is the public attitude shift concerning concealed carry:

(T)he biggest change in public opinion since late April, before the new law took effect, is an increase in those who foresee no change in overall safety — to more than one-third of the state’s adults.

The current Minnesota Poll of 817 adults was conducted Sept. 2-8 amid news reports of an Anoka County gun owner whose permit was canceled after an incident in which he fired repeated shots into the hood of his brother’s car.

The percentage saying that the new law will make Minnesota safer fell 6 points since April, to 11 percent. The percent saying that the state will be more dangerous stood at 51 percent; in April it was 55 percent. The percentage predicting no effect from the law rose 10 points to 35 percent.

A pessimistic view of the new law is especially marked among women (68 percent see a more dangerous Minnesota, 4 percent a safer one), Democrats and liberals, college graduates, adults younger than 25 or 55 and older, and the state’s lowest income earners.

A larger percentage of men than women offer the most positive opinion of the law, with 19 percent saying the state will be safer and 34 percent saying it will be more dangerous. Nearly half of men, however, see no effect. Among Republicans, whose party championed the gun law in the Legislature and the governor’s office, 20 percent see a safer Minnesota and 40 percent a more dangerous one.

Meanwhile, Democrats with similar views outnumber those who think Minnesota will be safer by a ratio of 10 to 1 (60 percent to 6 percent). Among liberals, it’s 60 percent to 3 percent. Among conservatives, the ratio is nearly 3 to 1 on the more dangerous side, 51 percent to 18 percent.

The belief that the gun law will have little or no effect on public safety is most prevalent among men (46 percent) and upper income earners.

But here’s the money quote:

“There’s really no purpose to having guns available,” said Salwa Williams, 24, a Republican speech and language pathologist from Eagan. “I just think that people make irrational decisions sometimes. They could carry Mace if they really felt threatened.”

The brainwashing’s still working, obviously.

But there’s hope:

Dianna Saunders, 62, a DFL circuit-board inspector from New Market, said she thinks the law will make Minnesota safer, even though she said she doesn’t like guns and would never carry one. “There’s already guns out there,” she said. “It would be safer if law-abiding people had them, too. It’s been proved in other states.”

Somebody’s paying attention.

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