America's First Freedom - June 2014 - 33

B

P O L L

&

D A T A

y now, we've all realized that many politicians
in Washington, D.C., tend to live in their own
little worlds. Insulating themselves from the
voices of their constituents, they often push the
most useless of legislative schemes.

Gun control is an excellent example. Anti-gun legislators love to promote more
restrictive gun control laws under the guise of stopping violent crime in America.
And if you listened to so-called "mainstream" media reports on the issue, you'd think
those legislators have the support of every law enforcement officer in the country.
But you'd be wrong.

Officers Speak Out In February, PoliceOne.com released full results of a 2013

nationwide membership survey focused on gun control. More than 15,000 verified
law enforcement professionals participated. Of note, 70 percent of the respondents
were verified to be street-level officers-those tasked with fighting violent crime
face-to-face on a daily basis.
Nearly 30 questions long, the survey encompassed a wide range of gun
topics. Despite the president and other politicians often having a wall of blue-clad
officers standing behind them when speaking on gun control, the PoliceOne.com
survey showed that respondents actually have a strong distaste for strict limits on
gun ownership.
In fact, 85 percent of survey respondents said passage of legislation proposed by
the White House last year would have had no effect, or even a negative effect, on
their safety. Seventy-one percent said a federal ban on the manufacture and sale of
semi-automatics-often referred to, erroneously, as "assault weapons"-would have
no effect on reducing violent crime. And more than 20 percent believe such a ban
would have a negative effect on reducing violent crime.
Similarly, more than 95 percent of respondents said limiting magazine capacity
to only 10 rounds would not reduce violent crime. This response greatly contradicts
recent legislation pushed in some states and seems to echo the opinion of many
sheriffs around the country-especially Colorado, where last year only seven of the
state's 64 sheriffs said they would enforce that state's new magazine limit law.
While many politicians seem to believe guns cause crime, the survey respondents
do not agree. When asked to identify the root cause of gun violence in the United
States, 38 percent of respondents blamed a decline in parenting and family values,
14 percent blamed parole, early release and short sentences for violent offenders,
14 percent blamed the prevalence of violent movies and video games and 10 percent
blamed a failure to properly address mental illness issues.
Likewise, more than half of respondents said increased punishment for illegal gun
sales would have a positive impact on reducing gun violence. And a large number of
officers seemed to challenge the success of gun buyback programs-81 percent said
they believe such programs are ineffective in reducing gun violence.
Based on these results, gun-ban legislators' current efforts to curb gun violence
through stricter gun control are not addressing what most law enforcement officers
see as the root causes of crime-or the most effective methods of addressing them.

Embracing The Armed Citizen In another survey finding, the vast majority of

respondents believe armed citizens are effective in curbing gun violence. Nearly
90 percent of those surveyed believe that casualties in an active shooter situation
could be decreased if armed citizens were nearby.
And when asked what would best prevent large-scale shootings, more than
28 percent said more permissive concealed carry policies for citizens would help most,
followed by nearly 20 percent who said better institutionalization for the mentally

J.R . Salzman

by

ill. Additionally, more than 80 percent
of respondents supported arming
school administrators and teachers who
volunteer to undergo firearm training
and carry a firearm on the job.
The results of the PoliceOne.com
survey coincide with a growing number
of law enforcement leaders around the
country who are speaking out in favor
of armed citizens, including Detroit
Police Chief James Craig (see feature
story page 32).
Another such officer is Milwaukee
County Sheriff David Clarke, who
recently joined nra-ila Executive
Director Chris W. Cox in a panel
discussion at the Conservative Political
Action Conference (cpac).
In fact, Clarke made his stance
apparent from the get-go:
"I trust law-abiding citizens with
firearms," Clarke said. "I fear criminals."
Clarke's comments also mirrored
the PoliceOne.com survey results in
regard to the potential of armed citizens
stopping active shooter situations.
"I looked and I said to myself, I have
165,000 people who are prepared to
assist me ... in keeping their community
safe," Clarke said, referring to the
number of concealed carry permit
holders in his county. "When the police
cannot be there in real time, when the
threat is happening, someone has to be
there to stop the threat."

Who Will Listen? Between the
PoliceOne.com survey and the growing
chorus of sheriffs, police chiefs and
rank-and-file officers across the country,
it is clear that many in law enforcement
disapprove of restrictions on gun
ownership and believe armed citizens
are effective in curbing violent crime.
The question now is whether
anti-gun politicians will stop pushing
ineffective gun laws and listen to those
who are tasked with combating gun
violence face-to-face-and whether
the so-called "mainstream" media will
begin objectively reporting this trend, or
will continue to call for gun bans on a
regular basis.
On those matters, we won't be
holding our breath.
America's

1

st

Freedom

|

June 2014

31


http://www.PoliceOne.com http://www.PoliceOne.com http://www.PoliceOne.com http://www.PoliceOne.com http://www.PoliceOne.com

America's First Freedom - June 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of America's First Freedom - June 2014

America's First Freedom - June 2014 - 1
America's First Freedom - June 2014 - 2
America's First Freedom - June 2014 - 3
America's First Freedom - June 2014 - 4
America's First Freedom - June 2014 - 5
America's First Freedom - June 2014 - 6
America's First Freedom - June 2014 - 7
America's First Freedom - June 2014 - 8
America's First Freedom - June 2014 - 9
America's First Freedom - June 2014 - 10
America's First Freedom - June 2014 - 11
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America's First Freedom - June 2014 - 13
America's First Freedom - June 2014 - 14
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America's First Freedom - June 2014 - 21
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America's First Freedom - June 2014 - 26
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America's First Freedom - June 2014 - 33
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