New Gun Survey Should Have Lessons For Both Sides

FORT WORTH, TX - JULY 10:  Guns sit for sale at a gun show where thousands of different weapons are displayed for sale on Jul
FORT WORTH, TX - JULY 10: Guns sit for sale at a gun show where thousands of different weapons are displayed for sale on July 10, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas. The Dallas and Forth Worth areas are still mourning the deaths of five police officers last Thursday evening by a lone gunman. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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.

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 percent 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 percent were in favor of universal background checks, 53 percent agree that high-capacity magazines should be banned, 57 percent say that AR rifles should also be banned and 65 percent 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.