Monthly Archives: June 2016

American gun ownership drops to lowest in nearly 40 years

By Christopher Ingraham


The percent of American households owning guns is at a near-40 year low in the latest CBS News poll released this month.

According to the survey, which was conducted among 1,001 Americans in the aftermath of the Orlando nightclub shooting, 36 percent of U.S. adults either own a firearm personally, or live with someone who does. That’s the lowest rate of gun ownership in the CBS poll going back to 1978. It’s down 17 points from the highest recorded rate in 1994, and nearly 10 percentage points from 2012.

Different national polls tend to show slightly different rates of gun ownership. The latest household gun ownership rate in the General Social Survey, in 2014, was 32 percent. The October 2015 Gallup survey showed a higher rate of 43 percent, including guns kept on property outside the home.

But the downward trend in gun ownership remains consistent across the national polls. According to Gallup, gun ownership has fallen by about 10 percentage points since its peak in 1993. The General Social Survey shows a 20-point drop since the mid-1970s.

[Gun control: What works, what doesn’t and what remains open for debate]

But gun purchases, as measured by FBI firearm background checks, are at historic highs. And data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms shows that gun manufacturers are churning out record numbers of guns. Many gun rights advocates argue that these figures mean that the overall number of gun owners is growing: If more guns are being sold, more people must be owning guns.

But the declining rates of gun ownership across three major national surveys suggest a different explanation: that most of the rise in gun purchases is …read more


Donald Trump is detonating a GOP policy position

By Jim Tankersley

Donald Trump delivers a speech on his economic policy in Monessen, Pa., on Tuesday. (Reuters/Louis Ruediger)

You have to reach all the way back to Herbert Hoover, more than three-quarters of a century ago, to find a Republican president who even closely approximates Donald Trump’s views on international trade. Hoover levied a sweeping tariff that economists generally agree did not work as intended. The years that followed saw GOP nominees consistently run on plans to open markets and reduce barriers to trade — until now.

Trump has themed his economic message, in large part, on critiques of free-trade deals and a promise to levy tariffs against “cheating” trade partners such as China and Mexico. He intensified that message on Tuesday, in a speech in Pennsylvania that, among other things, quoted Abraham Lincoln warning that “the abandonment of the protective policy by the American government… must produce want and ruin among our people.”

If Republicans nominate Trump for president next month as expected, the Pennsylvania speech could mark a turning point for the party on trade — and a repudiation of the GOP’s business-lobby wing — in rather dramatic fashion. It would be a historic shift, as I’ve laid out in a tweet storm:

…read more


How Brexit threatens one of Britain’s biggest perks

By Danielle Paquette

Britain's maternity leave policy is among the world's most generous. Could a Brexit change that? (ISTOCKPHOTO)

Britain’s maternity leave policy is among the world’s most generous. Could a Brexit change that? (ISTOCKPHOTO)

Britain’s shocking decision to leave the European Union last week fueled global worry over a potentially far-flung economic disaster. The markets took a nosedive. The pound lost nearly 10 percent of its value overnight. Analysts feared other countries could follow suit, sending the world into another destabilizing fit.

In short: The aftermath has been dramatic — and unpredictable. On a micro level, United Kingdom residents still aren’t sure what exactly a #Brexit would bring, if it happens at all.

One relatively unexplored prediction by British activist Caroline Criado-Perez: The divorce might disrupt paid maternity leave.

In the U.K., a mother can take up to 52 weeks of maternity leave, with 39 paid. They can receive 90 percent of their average pre-tax weekly earnings for the first six weeks and up to £139.58, or roughly $186, for each additional week. (Fathers may take up to two weeks off at 90 percent of their income, or they could split their partner’s maternity leave.) Companies, of course, have the option to offer workers higher payments.

British parents didn’t always receive the assistance, Criado-Perez pointed out in an essay for the Telegraph. The United Kingdom offered paid leave for new mothers 17 years before the European Union added extra layers of support in 1993. But the British policy left out loads of moms.

“Under UK law, you were only eligible for maternity leave if you were full-time, directly employed (sorry, agency workers) and had been in your post for at least two years,” Criado-Perez wrote. “Inevitably, thousands of women did not qualify.”

The EU changed this when it formed, asserting all working women had the right to paid maternity leave. Since 2012, both women and …read more