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Latest Second Amendment Polling

Dave Kopel has some interesting data on recent polling:

In the WaPo poll, 72% of respondents said that they considered the Second Amendment to be an individual right, not just for militia only. The is essentially identical to the most recent Gallup Poll (conducted Feb. 8-10, 2008) in which 73% of respondents said that the Second Amendment was an individual right, not limited only to militia.

The WaPo poll also asked “Would you support or oppose a law in your state that bans private handgun ownership and requires that rifles and shotguns kept in private homes be unloaded or have a trigger lock?” 59% said yes.

Dave wonders about the dichotomy, but I think it’s a poor poll question.  It confuses the issue of the handgun ban with the idea that guns should be stored unloaded and have a trigger lock.  Most people support that idea.  That number of people polled in the “somewhat support” was 29%, meaning maybe they liked storing guns unloaded, but didn’t like the handgun ban.  You can’t know from this polling question.  It poll also doesn’t stipulate that there’s no self-defense exception to this rule under DC law.  Most people were no doubt not thinking about the self-defense implications here.

You can get a poll to return anything you want just based on how you ask the question.

6 Responses to “Latest Second Amendment Polling”

  1. cbrtxus says:

    I wonder how most folks would respond to these poll question?

    Do you believe that the best way to defend your home and loved ones is to be utterly defenseless?

    Do you believe that the police can keep a criminal from perpetrating a crime against you? Always? Most of the time? Occasionally?

    Do you believe that if you owned a firearm, you would be a threat to anyone other than a criminal?

  2. guy says:

    “Would you support or oppose … 59% said yes.”

    Yes to what? Both?

  3. Bob Ricker says:

    Dave is like many gun lawyers, they can’t see the forest for the trees. Most Americans view the 2nd amendment like all others, there is a balance that must be met. We want our guns for hunting and self protection, but along with gunownership comes a civic responsibility to keep gus out of the wrong hands- terrorists and criminals. If a criminal or terrorist is convicted of a felony, he does not lose his right to a jury trial, right against self incrimination or right against unreasonable search and seizure. He does lose his 2nd Amendment rights. Does Dave really think SCOTUS is going to reverse that prohibition.?That’s the real question.

  4. Sebastian says:

    Bob,

    I can’t speak for Dave, but doubt he thinks that. I certainly don’t believe the courts are going to suddenly find second amendment rights for convicted felons. As I’ve stated previously on this blog, I think criminals can have their second amendment rights denied through due process of law. It’s not different than other fundamental rights in that respect. In the founder’s time, we used to hang felons, so it seem to me that it would be permissible to deny many fundamental liberties to them.

    I do take objection to barring non-violent criminals the right to arms. Should someone found guilty of tax evasion forever be barred from having the means to defend himself? What about someone who imported lobsters in the wrong type of bag? There are many ridiculous things today which are considered felonies that probably ought not to be.

    But I think that’s a bigger issue that is only tangentially associated with the right to bear arms. You won’t find any objection here for violent felons being denied their right to bear arms.

  5. Sebastian says:

    cbrtxus:

    If you had asked “Do you believe in a ban on handguns, along with a law that allows rifles and shotguns, but forces them to be stored in a manner than renders them unusable to self-defense?” you’d have far different results.

    Most people, including myself, believe that guns that aren’t under your direct control ought to be secured. That’s relatively non-controversial even among gun owners. When I’m not carrying my firearm, it’s on the bedside table safely in it’s holster. I don’t have children, but if I did I’d invest in a quick-open safe for storage. If I’m not actively using the gun, it goes in the main safe.

    The problem with the DC law is that under the guise of mandating “safe storage” it effectively makes it impossible to use a firearm in self-defense without risking criminal charges. I think most Americans would agree that was wrong.

  6. VPC Admin says:

    Bob Ricker, we at the VPC Blog congratulate you on all your hard work. It’s great to know that you spend a lot of time and money fighting the Gun Blobbers right here on their very own Blogs.

    The effort of all gun safety activists is needed to stop .50 Caliber Terror in our homes and streets.

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