A New Gun Survey Has Some Good News And Some Not So Good News Too.

My job, as I see it, is to deliver the news about guns to the Gun Violence Prevention community.  I’d be happy to deliver the news to Gun-mob Nation as well, but they don’t seem very interested in what I have to say. Or I should say that if Gun-mob Nation is interested, it’s just to tell me that whatever I have to say isn’t what they want to hear. But occasionally I also have to tell my GVP friends some news that they would rather not hear.  But that’s my job.

18d107c334bf4dfdb66f20012db87ef4            And one bit of gun news that might not set well with people who are trying to figure out what to do about this curse called gun violence (and it is a curse) is contained in an AP poll that was published this past week. The poll was conducted by GfK, and what I like about this outfit is they not only announce the results of their polls, they also give you the detailed responses on which the poll results are based. Well, you know what they say – the Devil is in the details, and this poll contains some devilish little details that most of the stories about the poll overlooked.

And the reason these details were overlooked was because the big headline about this survey of 1,000+ Americans was that a strong majority said they were in favor of stronger gun-control laws.  In fact, nearly two-thirds said that gun laws should be made stricter, with only 11% saying that the laws should be loosened, and about one-quarter saying that the laws should be left as they are.

When you drill down to the specifics, the poll continues to register solid majorities in favor of tightening current laws: 73% ware in favor of universal background checks, 53% agree that high-capacity magazines should be banned, 57% say that AR rifles should also be banned and 65% favor criminal penalties for adults who violate Child Access Prevention (CAP) laws.

Obviously the poll results are skewed in the usual way; i.e., Democrats are stronger when it came to stricter laws, Republicans less so.  Women are less pro-gun than men; urbanites and suburbanites favor more controls, rural folks want less.  Not only have these profiles been consistent among all polls that survey gun attitudes, but this poll validated other studies insofar as gun ownership continues to remain at about one-third.  The NRA can talk all it wants about how declining gun ownership is a ‘myth,’ but I’ll give the Fairfax gang credit for being steadfastly consistent in their refusal to face the facts.

As I said earlier, however, this poll also contains some facts that the GVP community  needs to face. By a narrow margin (53 – 44) respondents to this poll favored a national concealed-carry law which would allow armed citizens to move from one state to another with the same reciprocal legal status which now exists for the license that every state issues to drive a car.  But at least all fifty states require a road test before you can drive. How many states impose a real competency test as part of the CCW process? None. Not one.

More worrisome is the response to Question 11: “Do you think that owning a gun does more to protect a person from being a victim of a crime or more to put their safety at risk?”  By a margin of 2 to 1, respondents said that owning a gun would protect them from crime.  Which means that even many non-gun owners believe Gun-mob Nation’s biggest lie, namely, that a gun is more of a benefit than a risk.

I would strongly urge my GVP friends to consider the implications of this last response. Because if nothing else, as long as a majority of Americans believe that a gun is a legitimate way to respond to crime, then Gun-mob Nation will find it much less difficult to prevent any change in gun laws. Which is exactly their plan.

5 thoughts on “A New Gun Survey Has Some Good News And Some Not So Good News Too.

  1. So it looks like we have public support for the concepts that a) only responsible people should be able to buy a gun, b) that gun owners should be held accountable for irresponsibe behaviors and carelessness, and c) limiting the inherent dangerousness of guns when used against others. But we have a ways to go when it comes to the concept of the inherent dangerousness or adviseability of “responsible” people owning and using guns.

    I find this to be an interesting dichotomy. It’s the, I don’t trust my neighbor but I trust myself, mentality. Individuals want gun laws that allow them to hedge their bets. Sure, keep the guns out of the hands of criminals, just make sure I can buy one when I want to.

    At the root of this is an inherent sense of lack of safety and distrust and it’s getting worse every day, functioning as a self-reinforcing system. People are uncertain that the police can respond in time, despite evidence often to the contrary. In rural areas people know the police frequently can’t respond in time. Of course, the arms race between police and criminals doesn’t help. Neither do random suicidal attacks. As a result, untrained and unqualified people arm themselves and look to their own safety, often with tragic results.

    Another problem is that people are often more willing to believe anecdotes than data and no matter how significant they seem, anecdotes are not data. Studying the issue with gold standard research should be top priority but is suppressed. Information on the dangers of gun ownership, especially casual gun ownership, must be disseminated but who will take the lead and how?

    I spoke to someone at a conference this weekend who took possession of her father’s handgun after he died. He had been talked into buying it for home defense years ago. She noted that it had never been fired, i.e. he had never even practiced with it. It is mind-boggling that people will treat their gun like a fire extinguisher, not using it until needed. In fact, it was even less useful than a fire extinguisher as he kept it in his attic. Once again, the perceived need for self-defense irrationally outweighed the actual need for self-defense, and the gun industry made money.

    The increasing prevalence of cellphones in society maps onto and correlates with the documented decline of violent crime in recent decades far more reliably than do concealed carry law enactments and yet CC gets the undeserved credit. How can you explain the drop in violent crime rates across all states at the same time, including states without concealed carry? With better marketing.

    The recent increase in the public presence of firearms provides no systemic benefit to society but has a profound systemic deficits not the least of which are easy access to ever more deadly weapons by criminals, more skittish law enforcement officers, and morons who are so prone to showing off they just can’t seem to keep it in the holster. Because of their potential dangerousness gun owners should be held to the highest standards, not allowed to slide by with low or no standards so they won’t be inconvenienced.

    This is not about them. It’s about the rest of us. If the first amendment is written for all of us, the second is, as well. Public gun ownership as practiced today does not constitute a militia. Furthermore, it does not nor cannot ensure the security of the state. Given this failure on two counts, the second amendment should be as symbolic as the third yet has become perverted to support the economic interests of the weapons industry and the fevered ideologies of insurrectionists and anarchists. People have died because of their intransigence, carelessness, beligerence and profiteering.

    Mistrust of the government has been around a long time but now people are beginning to mistrust each other, fracturing along diverse lines. Danger messaging bombards them from all sides. Anecdotal evidence of living in a dangerous world appears in the media constantly and when people begin to be more fearful of their own safety they become less sociable and more independent. Instead of circling the wagons everyone heads off in their own direction. Not good for them. Not good for society. Very good for gun sales.

    Despite the traction we have tried to gain by targeting the NRA and its minions, the only thing that seems to be turning the tide is the inevitable increase in victimization and death caused by guns. Gun violence’s death-touch is spreading into new territory with every newly targeted group. Unfortunately, these highly visible incidents feed back into fostering even more fear, perhaps ironically even increasing gun sales. A blind eye is conveniently turned to recognizing the science of trauma and the neurobiology of diminished capacity in a crisis and the surveys seem to reflect this.

    Humans are social animals but those who would sow mistrust are using firearms as a crowbar to dismantle society. When we stop behaving in social ways and retrench into relying on providing for our own safety with these manufactured teeth and claws, we are asking for trouble. Not surprisingly, we are getting it.

  2. Reblogged this on Mister Journalism: "Reading, Sharing, Discussing, Learning" and commented:

    A New Gun Survey Has Some Good News And Some Not So Good News Too.
    by mikethegunguy
    My job, as I see it, is to deliver the news about guns to the Gun Violence Prevention community. I’d be happy to deliver the news to Gun-mob Nation as well, but they don’t seem very interested in what I have to say. Or I should say that if Gun-mob Nation is interested, it’s just to tell me that whatever I have to say isn’t what they want to hear. But occasionally I also have to tell my GVP friends some news that they would rather not hear. But that’s my job.

  3. Mike, I would like you to define what you mean by “…a real competency test as part of the CCW process? None. Not one…’

    If you mean that states would require that individuals routinely compete in IDPA matches and achieve qualifying scores, or take Massad Ayoob’s 20 hr “Armed Citizens Rules of Engagement” as a minimum, than that is probably true. However, here in New Mexico, we are required to take a 15 hour class that includes qualification, with the pistol one is going to be licensed to carry, at 3 and 7 yards. One has to re-shoot every 2 years and take a 4 hour refresher class every four. Admittedly that is pretty easy, but it is a competency in the same way my driver’s test was a competency.

    I agree that a nationwide CCW permit would only pass my laugh test if there was a national standard, similar to a driver’s test, and that the states would have to agree on the baseline. Interestingly, when I took my road test some 44 years ago, someone pulled out of a parking space right in front of me as I drove down the street. I had to take evasive action to avoid a crash. The state examiner was actually impressed.

  4. This is what gets me – I have a CCW permit from Utah , I don’t even know where Utah is at , but they issued me a conceal carry permit . I took a class , passed a back ground check and the permit was issued . I can carry my gun in 32 states legally . What gets me is I live in Maryland , never been arrested and I can’t carry my protection in this communist state . I live between Washington DC and Baltimore , both cities have made the list as Murder City or Murder Capital of the Nation and I’m not allowed to protect my family or property . Here in communist Maryland we are suppose to wait till the police get here to protect us . Sometimes that approach is too late . The officials that decide gun laws in Maryland , 3 officials , all of them are anti gun . In my opinion it should be , 1 person for , 1 person against , 1 person neutral to decide Maryland gun laws . Thank you

    • Actually Mister Adkins is in for something of a shock because that Utah permit is a scam. The fact is that many states have specific laws about how, when and where you can carry a gun, licensed or not. And if you don’t follow those laws you could have a CCW license issued by God Almighty and you’ll still wind up in front of a judge. So the burden i on you if you travel around to know the laws that might affect you in each state. And the laws are different in each state.

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