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More on the Wintenmute Study

Thirdpower has been kind enough to update his post, and provide a link to the actual study. In terms of the study being a flop, I was partially correct. I say partially, because I figured there’d be more surveying of attitudes towards gun policy, and there wasn’t. What there was, beyond what was mentioned in the press release, there wasn’t any red meat to be found. One things is for sure, Wintenmute wasn’t happy that NSSF and NRA broadly alerted on this survey, and discouraged dealers from participating:

Our results may have been affected by external factors, chief among them being efforts to deter subjects from participating. Two days after the first questionnaire was mailed, Larry Keane, general counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), posted a notice at the organization’s Web site “strongly discouraging retailers from participating in this survey.”  […]

[…] The National Rifle Association (NRA) issued a notice to retailers at its Web site on June 29, “recommend[ing] that you do not respond to the survey.”35 The organization also sent its notice as a personalized E-mail, apparently to the organization’s entire membership.

What’s good about the interference is it raises doubts about the validity of this survey, which are going to tend to smaller dealers, less connected to the community as a whole, who are difficult to reach with the message. Doubts are also raised, I believe, by the claim that the survey response rates were typical. Is this typical of business surveys?

The survey design required up to three mailings of the questionnaire, with a reminder postcard sent to all subjects between the first and second questionnaire mailings. Taking the mailing date of the first questionnaire as day 0, the postcard was sent on day 7, and subsequent questionnaires were sent to nonrespondents on day 21 and day 42. A cash incentive—three uncirculated $1 bills—was included in the first mailing. Respondents were also offered the opportunity to request a copy of publications arising from the survey.

It’s interesting to see what they are surveying. It’s actually very little in terms of what they politically support. Perhaps they realized polling gun dealers about that would largely be a fool’s errand. I think this is more geared to understand whether certain phenomena in the gun market we claim are really true. Here’s what they are pretty clearly trying to glean:

  • Do tactical rifles represent a large portion of the market? (evil Assault Weapons)
  • How large is the market for inexpensive handguns? (evil Saturday Night Specials)
  • Are sales to women actually high?
  • How important are gun shows in in the overall sales equation for FFLs?
  • Is business good?
Fortunately for us, I’m not how much red meat there is here, because this can’t be a representative sample because our interference has essentially denied them that. Nonetheless, you can expect to see this touted as irrefutable evidence that a) EBRs are not commonly owned, and that b) women aren’t buying guns in large numbers, and c) the gun industry is struggling, d) they are selling inexpensive guns to straw purchasers and e) gun dealers support gun control.

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