If there has been one new addition to the political lexicon over the last several years, it’s been the phrase known as ‘conspiracy theory,’ which is mentioned by just about everyone who says anything at all about Donald Trump. Here’s a guy who’s still peddling his conspiracy theory about the ‘stolen’ 2020 election, which he trotted out again for a national TV audience last week on CNN.

              But I happen to know another conspiracy theory which has much longer legs than Trump’s claim about election ‘fraud.’ This is the theory that any kind of gun-control regulation represents the beginning of a ‘slippery slope’ that will eventually wind up with the entire American population being disarmed.

              This theory has been floating around Gun-nut Nation for at least the past 50 years and is thrown out there by the NRA and all the other pro-gun groups whenever a mass shooting creates a brief, but noisy chorus about how we ‘have to do something’ about all those guns.

              It turns out, of course, that not one, single gun-control group like Everytown, Brady or Giffords has ever promoted any kind of confiscation strategy at all. In fact, these groups go out of their way to avoid the issue of any connection between private gun ownership and gun violence by promoting bland and seemingly innocuous narratives like behaving ‘responsibly’ with guns.

              And don’t make the mistake of thinking that the ‘slippery slope’ resistance to more gun-control laws is only a product of the NRA and like-minded groups. One of the earliest attempts to promote this conspiracy theory can be found in a 2013 issue of Forbes, which is hardly known to be a no-holds-barred supporter of privately-owned guns.

              It seems that just about every day, President Joe says something about gun violence, usually lamenting how with a ‘divided’ Congress, there’s only so much he can do. And we all know that since the GOP controls most of the Southern and Midwestern states where just about everyone owns a gun, as long as the GOP also can determine which proposals go forward in one branch on the Hill, what Joe is saying is probably true.

              Except I’m not so sure that the issue of gun control necessarily comes down to a struggle between gun owners and people who don’t own guns. And to test my own theory about who believes the ‘slippery slope’ conspiracy theory about gun control, I have just run a national survey which was answered by 547 respondents in 41 states, which you can download here.

              Over the next several weeks, I plan to analyze the results of this survey in depth, but be advised that along with the standard questions about age, location, race, gender, income, occupation and so forth, I also asked respondents if they or someone they lived with owned guns, whether they supported the 2nd Amendment ‘right’ to own guns, and – here’s the biggie – whether gun-control laws are the first step in government confiscation of all guns.

              Like I said above, I’ll get into more details from the survey results over the next couple of weeks, but in the meantime, I just wanted to share one very interesting result from this survey with you today.

              It turns out that the number of respondents who are gun owners versus the number who don’t have any connections to guns was about 50-50, which is actually somewhat higher for the gun-owning side than what other recent surveys have found. But my survey may be the first which takes into account the recent splurge in gun buying which occurred during Covid-19.

              In any case, you would expect that just about all the gun-owning respondents would line up in favor of a theory which promotes the idea that any new gun law is just the beginning of an attempt to not just regulate but to ban guns.

              Ready for some preliminary results? Of the 272 respondents who don’t own or aren’t in a household where someone owns a gun, 113 respondents (41.5%) believe that new gun laws will ultimately result in the confiscation of guns. Of the 275 respondents who are either gun owners or live in a household where there are guns, 88 respondents (32%) do not believe in the ‘slippery slops’ conspiracy theory about how gun laws will eventually pave the way for taking away America’s privately-owned guns.

              These results, and again they are preliminary, are exactly the reverse of what one would expect. Because if 40% of households which don’t contain guns are also households were someone resides who believes that more gun laws will become a ‘slippery slope’ eventually resulting in all guns being taken away, maybe these are folks who want gun-control to eventually disarm the gun-owning population, or maybe these are people who buy the pro-gun paranoia about gun laws, whether they want guns banned or not.

              Either way, the early and most preliminary result of our survey reflects if nothing else that we need to be extremely careful in making any assumptions about how gun owners think about their guns.

              Stay tuned for more thoughts and analysis about our survey.