Protest Easy Guns is already touting a new poll that shows Virginians want to close the so called gun show loophole, and don’t want licensees carrying firearms into places that serve alcohol. But like many polls, the answers are reached by how the question is asked. Let’s take a look:
Under Virginia law, in order for an individual to be able to purchase a firearm at a gun show from a licensed firearm dealer, that individual must first pass a criminal background check. However that same individual could purchase a firearm at the same gun show from an unlicensed seller without first having to pass a criminal background check. This is known as the gun show loophole. Do you support changing the law to close the loophole?
This is loaded with charged language. Loophole implies that it’s something wrong, rather than something legal. Saying “unlicensed seller” implies that the seller is somehow unscrupulous, or doing something wrong. Nothing in this question is, per se, inaccurate, but it leaves the listener with the impression that the activity is shady and borderline illegal. I’m surprised 16.7% of Virginians knew the issue well enough to say no. To an ordinary person who does not understand, of course shady activity should be stopped, right? Just like guns that are used to assault people should be banned. Let’s look at the next one:
Do you think people with concealed weapons permits should be able to bring their weapons into restaurants that sell alcohol?
Note that there’s no mention of what the actual law says, which is that they may not consume alcohol? The implication is that you’ll have people with guns drinking, which most people are understandably opposed to. I think if you asked this question right, they might have difficulty getting a bare majority.
No doubt the anti-gunners will continue beating on this poll, but it’s a great example of how to ask loaded questions in a poll to get the answer you want.