What he's found is that the phrase "gun control" is much less common than it was years ago, while "gun rights" and "Second Amendment" have grown steadily. What does it mean? Nate Silver guesses — or purports to guess — quite badly (I'd say):
The change in rhetoric may reflect the increasing polarization in the debate over gun policy. “Gun control,” a relatively neutral term, has been used less and less often. But more politically charged phrases, like “gun violence” and “gun rights,” have become more common.If "gun control" is avoided, it's because those who would like to push it believe the public doesn't like it! It's not that we used to be more neutral and have become more politically charged.
Those who advocate greater restrictions on gun ownership may have determined that their most persuasive argument is to talk about the consequences of increased access to guns — as opposed to the weedy debate about what rights the Second Amendment may or may not convey to gun owners.Weedy debate? As if those who speak in terms of constitutional rights are in the weeds. This presentation of rights is quite disgusting: 1. People believe in their rights, and it's that real belief that gives life and endurance to our rights; 2. This belief in gun rights endured over time, even as elite legalists largely believed they were just about nothing (so it's not an abstruse, academic topic but nearly the opposite); and 3. The Second Amendment doesn't "convey" rights it refers to a right and declares that it "shall not be infringed."
There was a time when rights were real to liberals. Now, oh, let's not talk about some text that may or may not transmit who knows what to us.