We often hear from sheriffs (elected positions) and police chiefs (appointed by politicians) concerning their thoughts on “assault weapon” and “high-capacity” magazine bans, but we’re unable to hear from law enforcement officers not in leadership positions. A recent survey of more than 15,000 verified law enforcement professionals confirm what I’ve been hearing and what I’ve said for months. It’s almost unanimous… the proposed gun-control legislation will not help.
We don’t hear from these professionals simply because they are not allowed to speak officially on the subject. But every law enforcement professional I’ve spoken with off-the-record (about 13 or so) are convinced the proposed gun-control legislation at the federal and state level won’t do a damn thing, and many think it will make some situations worse.
Today, PoliceOne.com released the results of a gun policy survey you will not read about in the main stream media. You won’t hear the Connecticut governor or the president speak to the results either. The opinions of this survey will not be suppressed, rather they will be ignored. OK, maybe you’ll see the results in a brief clip, and if you do … let me know. The survey…
… was conducted between March 4 and March 13, 2013. More than 15,000 officers completed the survey, which was promoted by PoliceOne exclusively to its 400,000 registered members, comprised of verified law enforcement professionals. Only current, former or retired law enforcement personnel were eligible to participate in the survey. The survey sample size was broadly distributed by geography and rank in proportion to the U.S. law enforcement community at large. Respondents comprised a variety of ranks from departments of all sizes, with the majority representing departments of greater than 500 officers. Of those that took the survey, 80 percent were current law enforcement officers and 20 percent were former/retired law enforcement.
I have the PDF of the survey available, but here is some general information, with percentages rounded.
What effect do you think the passage of the White House’s currently proposed legislation would have in improving police officer safety?
86% of respondents say passage will have no impact or a negative impact on officer safety. One of four think additional gun-control measures will make their job more difficult and have a negative impact on their safety.
What effect do you think a federal ban on manufacture and sale of some semi-automatic firearms, termed by some as “assault weapons,” would have on reducing violent crime?
Almost 92% off officers think a ban on the manufacture and sale of “assault weapons” will have no effect – or a negative effect – on reducing violent crime.
Do you think a federal ban on manufacture and sale of ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds would reduce violent crime?
96% of respondents answered No.
I’ll add a qualifier to the above. The questions – since they are not specific to the details of legislation may or may not be in the pipeline – are a bit general since they do not mention ban specifics: grandfather current owners, prevent future purchases or confiscation schemes. That said, the general opinion is is clear and overwhelming. Current law enforcement officers do not think the legislation being discussed will do anything to reduce violent crime in the United States.
On other topics, cops feel that arming teachers is acceptable if they are vetted and trained (77%). And…
- Concerning mass-shooting events like Newtown and Aurora, 80% think a legally-armed citizen would have reduced casualties.
- They think gun buyback programs are not effective (82%).
- They support concealed carry (91%).
- They support mandatory sentences with no plea bargains for crimes involving firearms (91%).
Surveys like this one must be discussed and not ignored. These are line-officers who work day-to-day on the street dealing with criminal activity, gang violence, drugs, stupid drivers, the mentally ill and – very rarely to the extreme – must respond to mass shooting events. We should listen to their voice.
Doug Wyllie, the PoliceOne editor and chief, writes…
Quite clearly, the majority of officers polled oppose the theories brought forth by gun-control advocates who claim that proposed restrictions on weapon capabilities and production would reduce crime.
In fact, many officers responding to this survey seem to feel that those controls will negatively affect their ability to fight violent criminals.
Contrary to what the mainstream media and certain politicians would have us believe, police overwhelmingly favor an armed citizenry, would like to see more guns in the hands of responsible people, and are skeptical of any greater restrictions placed on gun purchase, ownership, or accessibility.
The officers patrolling America’s streets have a deeply-vested interest — and perhaps the most relevant interest — in making sure that decisions related to controlling, monitoring, restricting, as well as supporting and/or prohibiting an armed populace are wise and effective. With this survey, their voice has been heard.