As with many things, they're not anywhere near as smart as they think they are:
What does it take for an idea to spread from one to many? For a minority opinion to become the majority belief? According to a new study by scientists at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the answer is 10%. Once 10% of a population is committed to an idea, it’s inevitable that it will eventually become the prevailing opinion of the entire group. The key is to remain committed.We've very likely passed the 10% point - meaning that 10% of the country are committed gun owners. Probably half of the country are gun owners, and so the only question is what percent of these count as "committed". The recent panic buying of firearms and ammunition suggest that this is non-negligible. The recent increase in NRA membership is another.
The research was done by scientists at RPI’s Social Cognitive Networks Academic Research Center (SCNARC), and published in the journal Physical Review E. Here’s the abstract:
We show how the prevailing majority opinion in a population can be rapidly reversed by a small fraction p of randomly distributed committed agents who consistently proselytize the opposing opinion and are immune to influence. Specifically, we show that when the committed fraction grows beyond a critical value pc=10%, there is a dramatic decrease in the time Tc taken for the entire population to adopt the committed opinion.
This explains the anti-gun propaganda campaign. The reason that the gun banners rely on emotion and misrepresentation (conflating military assault rifles with modern sporting rifles) is because they simply can't get to 10% on their own by logical, intellectual persuasion.
Me, I don't think it matters. I think we've reached the tipping point, actually some time ago. The lack of support for new gun control legislation has been clear in polling for several years. The tide is running and fixing to swamp the gun banners.
They may try to ram their dogma down an unwilling country's throat anyway, as they did with Obamacare. All this would do is further erode the sense that government has any legitimacy. Progressives are finding that they're at the end of the Progressive Experiment, in no small part because of that lack of legitimacy.
So what comes next? Who can tell? But it will not look like what we see today, a Progressive dream of central control by an educated elite. And it won't have new gun control.