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We Still Have a Lot of Work to Do

A new poll has some encouraging aspects, but this is not:

For this survey, respondents were shown three pictures of firearms and asked whether they should be available to every American who is eligible to own firearms, or only to the police and other authorized persons. These weapons were reportedly used in last month’s mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado.

A majority of respondents believe the .40-calibre Glock handgun (63%) and the Remington 870 shotgun (58%) should remain accessible to every American who is eligible to own firearms. However, 73 per cent of Americans—including sizeable majorities of Republicans (66%) and gun owners (61%)—believe the AR-15 rifle should only be used by the police and other authorized persons.

This is the only poll I’m aware of that was done by picture. You can see the methodology here. The people were selected from among this pool of people to get a representative sampling, but I’d also note that I don’t think most gun people would be the types that would sign up for something like this. Regardless of how representative the sample actually is or isn’t, there are pretty clearly a lot of gun owners we’re not reaching with facts. How many of them thought they were looking at a machine gun? If any were fooled, we’re clearly not doing our jobs.

17 Responses to “We Still Have a Lot of Work to Do”

  1. aeronathan says:

    Is anybody surprised? Even here in the deep south, I’ve come across several “Elmer Fudds” who just can’t understand there’s no functional difference between that “evil” AR-15 and that “totally useful” Mini-14 that they carry around in their farm truck…

  2. asdf says:

    It was done with pictures to this outcome, because they knew they couldn’t achieve their desired result with any honestly worded question.

  3. asdf says:

    It was done with pictures to ensure this outcome, because they knew they couldn’t achieve their desired result with any honestly worded question.

  4. alcade says:

    Interesting that owning a handgun had more support than a shotgun. I would have figured it would be the other way around.

  5. PT says:

    From the survery: only 1/3 of firearm owners would be ok with Americans owning an AR15. This seems fishy. Even Walmart sells AR15’s now (including Colts). If every major sporting goods store in America is stocking them, I would imagine that more than 31% of gun owners would be familiar with AR15’s.

    Interestingly even 15% of gun owners would not be ok with fellow citizens owning the 870.

    The results are a bit surprising and make me think that the group polled is a bit abnormal.

    • Weer'd Beard says:

      I’ve told this story a few times before, but last year I happened to be hanging with some friends in Maine at a gun club on the first day of hunting season. One of my friends was Wally of York Arms, and he brought a few of the first of his “Conspirator” AR-15s, I believe one was SR#001. We weren’t shooting for too long before a few trucks pulled up with guys in orange and camo who had been out hunting and wanted to see who was using the range.

      When they saw the ARs they ALL asked Wally about getting one in 6.8 SPC for next deer season.

      They all had more classical hunting guns with them, but they were interested in the new hotness, and immediately saw them as “hunting guns”….even the few that were in fact real-deal full-auto.

  6. Floyd Ferguson says:

    There is some bogosity in the study: notice the color tone for both the Glock and Remmy is grey-tone, but for the AR is harsh deep black.

    I bet the results would be substantially different if the AR were duracoated sand color and with a 20 or 10 rd mag instead of a 30 rd.

    Deep black ARs definitely do prompt this response; I see it all the time. It’s a cosmetic problem. A very common cosmetic problem.

  7. Andy B. says:

    If I understand the methodology correctly, people had to “sign up” to be polled. Any poll where people volunteer to be polled, is almost by definition “unscientific,” as Sebastian alluded to.

  8. ern says:

    All the poll does is show that the media has been successful in manipulating the ignorance most people have of guns. Everyone I’ve known who doesn’t shoot thinks that an AR-15 is an automatic weapon because it looks like an M-16 or M-4. When I explain that it’s just a semi-auto, they get a glazed look and admit ignorance.

    Of course the media wants to legislate based on how guns look. It’s just going to make those laws pointless–just like the assault weapons ban was.

  9. Divemedic says:

    I’ll take “selection bias” for $500, Alex.

  10. Ken says:

    The “assault weapons ban” was not pointless. It was intended to be the “Christmas tree” on which they could hang more bans in the future with simple amendments, most likely passed in budget resolutions in the dead of night. If not for the absolute opposition to that monstrosity by gun owners, and the sunset forced on it by the NRA, it would by now have almost certainly changed from the “assault weapons ban” to the “semiautomatic rifle ban.”

    • Brad says:

      After passage of the 1994 Crime Bill (which contained the Feinstein AW ban), but before the trouncing of the Democrats in the 1994 election, Congressman Schumer introduced the bill that was intended to advance gun control called the Brady Bill 2. Schumer infamously proclaimed that if the Crime Bill was the camels nose, then Brady 2 was the rest of the camel. He wasn’t wrong!

      In the biography of Timothy McVeigh, “American Terrorist”, the writers claim that McVeigh told them that anti-gun legislation proposed after passage of the AW ban was the final straw for McVeigh and when he decided it was time to war against his own government. The writers do not name the legislation, but I assume it was Brady Bill 2.

      http://www.amazon.com/American-Terrorist-Timothy-McVeigh-Oklahoma/dp/0060394072/ref=pd_sim_b_1/186-2679961-2337038

  11. AndyN says:

    You seem to be primarily concerned with the opposition to scary looking rifles. I’d be at least as concerned – if not more so – that around 40% of respondents don’t think we should be able to own pump shotguns or semiautomatic pistols. And that includes double digit percentages of self-described gun owners.

    I’d be even more concerned if the sample and methodology weren’t a joke.

  12. Sendarius says:

    The archetypal “Evil Black Rifle”, huh?

    Even if the AR pictured WAS a full-auto, I would still be saying that anybody could have it – no special form, no special tax, no CLEO sign-off.

    If you are an adult, out of prison, not on parole, and not certified as crazy/metally deficient then have at it.

    **Nomex on**

  13. Brad says:

    The evil legacy of Josh Sugarmann lives on.

    “Assault weapons—just like armor-piercing bullets, machine guns, and plastic firearms—are a new topic. The weapons’ menacing looks, coupled with the public’s confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun—can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons. In addition, few people can envision a practical use for these weapons.”
    -Josh Sugarmann, Assault Weapons and Accessories in America, 1988

  14. Bryan S. says:

    “If any were fooled, we’re clearly not doing our jobs.”

    If they were fooled at any time in their lives to believe they shouldn’t have access to the same arms as the military, then the founders have failed at theirs, and the Progressives have succeeded at their job.

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