- Sep 30, 2007
- Reaction score
Gun Control: Here's an idea - let's ask the cops!
WHERE POLICE STAND ON AMERICA’S HOTTEST ISSUE
In March, PoliceOne conducted the most comprehensive survey ever of
American law enforcement officers’ opinions on the topic gripping the nation's
attention in recent weeks: gun control.
More than 15,000 verified law enforcement professionals took part in the
survey, which aimed to bring together the thoughts and opinions of the only
professional group devoted to limiting and defeating gun violence as part of
their sworn responsibility.
Totaling just shy of 30 questions, the survey allowed officers across the
United States to share their perspectives on issues spanning from gun control
and gun violence to gun rights.
Top Line Takeaways
Breaking down the results, it's important to note that 70 percent of
respondents are field-level law enforcers — those who are face-to-face in
the fight against violent crime on a daily basis — not office-bound, non-
sworn administrators or perpetually-campaigning elected officials.
1.) Virtually all respondents (95 percent) say that a federal ban on manufacture
and sale of ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds would not
reduce violent crime.
2.) The majority of respondents — 71 percent — say a federal ban on the
manufacture and sale of some semi-automatics would have no effect on
reducing violent crime. However, more than 20 percent say any ban would
actually have a negative effect on reducing violent crime. Just over 7
percent took the opposite stance, saying they believe a ban would have a
moderate to significant effect.
3.) About 85 percent of officers say the passage of the White House’s
currently proposed legislation would have a zero or negative effect on their
safety, with just over 10 percent saying it would have a moderate or
significantly positive effect.
4.) Seventy percent of respondents say they have a favorable or very
favorable opinion of some law enforcement leaders’ public statements that
they would not enforce more restrictive gun laws in their jurisdictions.
Similarly, more than 61 percent said they would refuse to enforce such laws
if they themselves were Chief or Sheriff.
5.) More than 28 percent of officers say having more permissive concealed
carry policies for civilians would help most in preventing large scale shootings
in public, followed by more aggressive institutionalization for mentally ill persons
(about 19 percent) and more armed guards/paid security personnel (about 15 percent).
6.) The overwhelming majority (almost 90 percent) of officers believe that
casualties would be decreased if armed citizens were present at the onset of
an active-shooter incident.
7.) More than 80 percent of respondents support arming school teachers and
administrators who willingly volunteer to train with firearms and carry one in
the course of the job.
8.) More than four in five respondents (81 percent) say that gun-buyback
programs are ineffective in reducing gun violence.
9.) More than half of respondents feel that increased punishment for obviously
illegal gun sales could have a positive impact on reducing gun violence.
10.) When asked whether citizens should be required to complete a safety
training class before being allowed to buy a gun, about 43 percent of officers
say it should not be required. About 42 percent say it should be required for
all weapons, with the remainder favoring training classes for certain weapons.
11.) While some officers say gun violence in the United States stems from
violent movies and video games (14 percent), early release and short sentencing
for violent offenders (14 percent) and poor identification/treatments of
mentally-ill individuals (10 percent), the majority (38 percent) blame a decline
in parenting and family values.
Bottom Line Conclusions
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.
About the author
Doug Wyllie is Editor in Chief of PoliceOne, responsible for setting the editorial
direction of the website and managing the planned editorial features by our
roster of expert writers. In addition to his editorial and managerial
responsibilities, Doug has authored more than 600 feature articles and
tactical tips on a wide range of topics and trends that affect the law
enforcement community. Doug is a member of International Law Enforcement
Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), and an Associate Member of
the California Peace Officers' Association. He is also a member of the Public
Safety Writers Association, and is a two-time (2011 and 2012) Western
Publishing Association "Maggie Award" Finalist in the category of Best
Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column. Even in his "spare" time, he is
active in his support for the law enforcement community, contributing his
time and talents toward police-related charitable events as well as
participating in force-on-force training, search-and-rescue training, and
other scenario-based training designed to prepare cops for the fight they
face every day on the street.
PoliceOne's Gun Control Survey: 11 key lessons from officers' perspectives