Guess How Many Americans Think America Would be Safer Without Civilian Gun Ownership

As I mentioned in a previous post — 81% of Gun Owners Believe They’d Win a Defensive Gun Use — CBS News poll on guns and gun ownership contained some fascinating data that didn’t make their article. Here’s another eye-opening survey result:

CBS poll - do guns make the America safer? (courtesy cbsnews.com)

Note: a respondent might understand that the Second Amendment protects Americans’ right to keep and bear arms — but wish Americans didn’t own guns. I repeat, might.

By the same token, a  safety-seeking respondent might gives a thumbs-up to “fewer people having guns than do now” thinking that criminals are the people who shouldn’t have guns now, rather than law-abiding citizens.

Still, the idea that 41 percent of Americans want to eliminate or reduce civilian gun ownership is deeply worrying. As is the idea that only 21 percent of Americans see guns as increasing public safety.

Then again, nearly the same amount of respondents (38 percent) reckon civilian gun ownership doesn’t have any impact on public safety.

That’s where the NRA, SAF, NAGR, GOA and The People of the Gun generally need to focus their pro-gun rights efforts: on the fence straddlers who aren’t antagonistic to civilian gun ownership, but don’t see a societal benefit. Yes?

comments

  1. avatar anonymoose says:

    Guess how many Americans are really, really stupid?

    1. avatar MyName says:

      I think George Carlin produced the seminal work on this topic.

    2. avatar doesk2 says:

      And with K-Grad schools in a headlock by Leftists the percentage increases every day.

      1. avatar Pat H says:

        Gee, I just don’t remember discussing gun control when I went to school. Either pro or con.

        1. avatar anonymoose says:

          Now they have mandatory feminazism classes at pretty much every school. My cousin was forced to take Women’s Studies instead of STEM because she wanted to do theater and be pre-med. I had an awkward conversation at Thanksgiving about how they’re literally lesbian-indoctrination departments with my uncle’s mother, who still thinks Women’s Studies is the same as it was 40 years ago. My sister who’s studying to be a teacher didn’t even bother showing her face at Thanksgiving because of her disdain for “traditional” family relations, or some BS.

        2. avatar Pat H says:

          If you mix up feminism and Nazism, you can not be depended on as a source of information.

        3. avatar anonymoose says:

          Modern feminism is nothing but a feminist supremacy movement. It hasn’t been about equal rights for women since at least the 1980s. Now it’s about oppressing everyone who isn’t a 500lb misandrist with non-human hair color, and milking money from Daddy Soros.

        4. avatar Erik Weisz says:

          ^ He’s right, you know.

        5. avatar Pg2 says:

          Feminism does not equal Nazi, it is literally a communist construct to weaken the family and for population control.

    3. avatar Kenneth Russell says:

      RIGHT?

  2. avatar Joe R. says:

    CBS – SAY BS

    F em all, it’s all fake news.

  3. avatar TwoJohnsonsAreBetterThanOne says:

    The first answer (no one had guns) is not based on reality, must be a catch-all for stupid. Reminds me of Obama’s sophomoric quest to rid the planet of all nuclear weapons, while Kim was building his nukes.

    1. avatar Cooter E Lee says:

      No guns in the world, yay! Don’t forget the bombs and other military weapons. Then the knives and spears. Then the clubs and rocks. Then we cut off our arms and legs and pull out our teeth. I volunteer (and insist) to be the last one with arms and legs holding the gun, axe, and the vice grips in this utopia.

  4. avatar MikeJH121 says:

    They cannot get rid of guns. Some worry about gunpowder and the gov drying up the supply yet it ain’t that easy either.

    The tech is already loose, it cannot be contained.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      They will have to make sulpher, a common mineral, a controlled substance.

      As long as mammals urinate, there is an unlimited supply available of potassium nitrate…

    2. avatar MeRp says:

      This was my thought; it is probable that people in the US would be safer if literally no one had any guns. But that is pure magic; some sort of impossible shift in basic physics/chemistry would have to occur for no one at all to have guns. And, unless it was total, you can bet that criminals would have guns.

      Of course, the whole playing field of the question is tilted anyway; it presupposes that safety is the highest concern.

      I guess, given no context whatsoever, this purely hypothetical question could have one correct answer that totally differs from the actual reality of the situation.

  5. avatar MyName says:

    One thing this tells us is that at least 41% of the population has a simple minded understanding of the world.

    Look at the survey question/statement.

    “Overall, the U.S. would be safer if: ”

    Safer for whom? Safer for individuals or as a nation? Safer from what? What is “safer”? How safe is it now? How are we measuring safety? What are the upper and lower limits on our measure of safety? Are we just talking about feeling safer?

    If I were taking the survey I would decline to answer the question because of the lack of specificity.

    41%, however, filled in the blank “safer” with whatever it is they think it means and decided that fewer guns improved that, undefined, metric. 21% did the same thing but decided that more guns improves their personal definition of “safer”.

    The 38% who said it doesn’t matter either way would probably include me, assuming that non-answer was not an option since 0.41+0.21+0.38=1. This is the only way I could answer honestly because their is no meaningful definition of safer and, therefore, there is no way to gauge the impact of anything, the number of guns included, upon such a non-measure.

    1. avatar MyName says:

      *there* is no meaningful definition of safer …

    2. avatar BLoving says:

      I chuckle at the hypothetical scenario these survey questions try to frame. It is always asked in the context of what WE should do or could do about THOSE people… never about what we going to do about ourselves.
      Try rephrasing the question:
      “Overall, would you be safer if___
      A. You were not allowed to have a gun.
      B. You were not allowed to own as many guns.
      C. You could own as many guns as you wish.
      D. You had a gun or not, doesn’t matter.

      Don’t let these bigots get away with this crap. When they cite “studies” like this to you, throw it right back at them – and make it about THEM.
      🤠

      1. avatar MyName says:

        Exactly, the framing of the question and possible answers is everything. The use of vague terms, that the survey respondent self-defines, the inclusion of impossibilities in the responses (i.e. no one has a gun, everyone has a gun), and the failure to differentiate between things like individually safer and safer for the nation as a whole, render the survey meaningless. (I will note that the 2A indicates that, for us to be safe as a whole, we need to individually have guns but I’m preaching to the choir)

        Further, this is not the kind of thing for which opinion really matters. If we had a better measure than “safer”, i.e. homicide rates, then we could ask and answer the question: Does increasing private firearm ownership in the U.S. increase homicide rates? Well, empirically, no. (and no, I am not claiming causation, I’m just saying that there is observable data that fails to support that conclusion) If I can answer it empirically then I don’t care about peoples opinion except for insofar as an opinion survey can reveal whether or not people understand reality – but that is a different kind of study.

        If I were to create a survey that asked the question:

        Which is preferable:

        1. Ford F150
        2. Jeep Grand Cherokee
        3. Porsche 911
        4. Subaru Outback

        Then some people would think – F150 is the best seller, I’ll answer that
        Some would think – I like jeeps, I’ll answer #2
        Some would think – the 911 is the most expensive on the list, I’ll answer that
        and so on.

        The problem is with the word “preferable” – Some equate it to sales, some to personal preference, some to something else.

        I don’t need to ask the question, in survey form, Which of the following vehicles has sold the most during the last decade? – that is not a matter of opinion.

        They might as well have asked if people think key lime pie makes the U.S. safer.

    3. avatar matt says:

      Don’t discount that some of those in the percentage who think the US would be safer if fewer people had guns, some of them are rationalizing it if fewer criminals had guns, the US would be safer.

      I fall in to that category. That said, I can’t think of a particularly good way to do that without punishing all law abiding gun owners. So the solution would probably make the country LESS safe by restricting guns from law abiding citizens.

      But, in the perfect world, less guns in criminals hands would probably mean a safer country.

      1. avatar Mike B in WI says:

        “if fewer criminals had guns, the US would be safer… That said, I can’t think of a particularly good way to do that without punishing all law abiding gun owners”

        How about we focus on the criminal and not the gun. Fewer criminals “on the street” and we would have less crime, and it would not punish law abiding gun owners.

  6. avatar Mack Bolan says:

    Funny how that number roughly coincides with the current population of Fake Americans and Illegals.

  7. avatar Ralph says:

    Translation: 41% of polled Americans are dumber than a box of hammers. 38% are marginally more intelligent.

    But we already knew that.

  8. avatar former water walker says:

    My rights don’t depend on the opinions of brain dead goofballs! The fact that DJT lost the “popular” by a lot tells you ALL you need to know😖

    1. avatar Clifford Mechels says:

      Fortunately we are NOT a democracy but a representative Republic. President Trump won the MAJORITY VOTE IN A MAJORITY OF THE STATES (30 states to Hillary’s 20). That is why he is the elected President.

  9. avatar TX Gun Gal says:

    Natual results of left wing running the school systems for the last 40 – 50 years. Teaching propaganda instead of critical thinking skills.

    “Right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness”
    That Pursuit thing is not a guarantee of happiness,
    That’s up to each citizen.

    If the Bill of Rights is even taught these days, you can bet it’s not taught the way it was written. Constitution is not a document subject to liberal interpretation.
    “Shall not be infringed” means exactly that.

    It’s no surprise that everyday more and more people are fine with “Nanny state” but when nanny turns into Nurse Ratchet, it will be too late.

    Just the musings of an old baby boomer.

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      I read an interesting article that stated that “happiness” as understood by the founders was not personal satisfaction or “safety,” but instead a right to pursue material rewards through personal industry.

      1. avatar TX_Lawyer says:

        The original formulation of “pursuit of happiness” was “property.”

  10. avatar Joatmon says:

    Lies, damn lies and statistics. That’s how I see it.

  11. avatar MDH says:

    “Still, the idea that 41 percent of Americans want to eliminate or reduce civilian gun ownership is deeply worrying. As is the idea that only 21 percent of Americans see guns as increasing public safety.”

    Was cornered last night at a Christmas party by a rabid anti-gunner, fuming that her son had purchased an AR. Having learned through a third party that I am a gun owner. She picked me to ‘vent’, and literally ticked off every liberal anti-gun talking point.

    1. Who needs something like that?

    Me: “I do, and apparently your son does.”

    2. What purpose does it serve, and who needs more than one. What could someone possibly do with more than one gun.”

    Me: “Any lawful purpose” and “A gun is a tool. You have tools right? You probably have different tools in your own home (a shovel, a spade, a hoe). You don’t need them until you need them, but when you do, you always want to have the right tool at your disposal.”

    3. Well, when the Second Amendment was written, there were muskets. No one could have imagined back then that we’d have guns that could kill many people in 30 seconds.

    Me: “That’s right. At that time, the King’s army had muskets and muskets were state of the art weaponry. The Second Amendment was encoded to defend against Tyranny. Today the King’s army has M4s, and the Second Amendment is there to guarantee that the citizenry has the right to own equivalent state of the art weaponry.”

    4. Well, it takes a long time to load a musket, how many people could you kill in 30 seconds with 18th century weaponry.

    Me: “Everyone in this room. The technology existed at that time to take out everyone in this room with one discharge of a firearm”. Her (slightly stunned at this idea): “How?”. Me: “Grape shot” (I then explained what grape shot was, and how it was delivered).

    5. Well do you think there should be any restrictions on guns?

    Me: “No.”

    The discussion continued for a bit, moving to statistics (her idea, and boy did she come into THAT conversation misinformed)!

    Finally – understanding that this individual was primarily guided by programming rather than facts or logic – I politely pointed out that if she didn’t want to own guns, that was absolutely her right. However, she absolutely does not get to determine whether someone else may own firearms – because that right is guaranteed under the US constitution.

    The conversation concluded civilly with a handshake, and mutual assurances that while we did not agree, we respected the other’s right to our respective points of view. I do not think I changed her world view, but I could tell she was thinking – and that made the exchange worthwhile.

    1. avatar YaDaddy says:

      Good one and good for you!

      If we are not civilly taking advantage of these teachable moments, then we are letting the problem fester and grow worse. Though it seems futile at times, it’s important.

      Thanks for fighting in the trenches good sir.

    2. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “4. Well, it takes a long time to load a musket, how many people could you kill in 30 seconds with 18th century weaponry.”

      About 30, with this 1700s ‘assault rifle’

      Send her this link, via corporate e-mail –

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Girandoni_air_rifle

      Does anyone know what the cost of that thing was in the 1700s, adjusted for inflation? I’m guessing about 10 grand…

    3. avatar Mark N. says:

      That reminds me of the story of the battle for The Corner on the last day of the Battle of Gettysburg. The Confederate troops managed to hit the Union line in force and drove back the defending Union troops from a low stone wall that formed a corner. The officer commanding the artillery that was located only fifty feet from the wall ordered that his cannon (I can’t remember if it was three or four) be loaded with double grape., and all cannon were fired simultaneously at point blank range. By his description, the Rebel troops simply disappeared. So ended the Battle of Gettysburg.

  12. avatar BierceAmbrose says:

    So, they want a nation-wide Sullivan act?

    That worked out well for some people, n badly for the rest of us. Well, now we know who these people think they are.

  13. avatar Kenneth Russell says:

    How many people actually understand the 2nd Amendment? should be the question. The 2nd amendment was written expressly to guard against a tyrannical government from oppressing the people. Not self-defense, not to hunt, not even to protect your personal property. All of those reasons were considered common sense reasons to have and possess a gun! The reason the Democrats want to restrict “we the people” from having a gun is so they can kill anyone that resist their Socialist/Marxist ideology!
    Come on people, know your history, know that every single country that ever took the guns out of the public’s hands had mass genocide that followed.
    There are no more “Democrats” The entire party majority has been infiltrated by the Socialist/Marxist. Open your eyes and look what is going on today! The Democrats are trying everything they can think of to discredit our duly elected POTUS because he wants to take the power away from them and give it back to the “People” where it belongs.

    1. avatar Gordon in MO says:

      ” The 2nd amendment was written expressly to guard against a tyrannical government from oppressing the people.”

      This is a historical fact. The Federalist Papers includes the thinking and intent of the Bill of Rights and does not include anything about hunting.

      The problem is, most people now days have been “educated” by leftists who omit, distort and lie about the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Their students have never read or researched the subject so they don’t know any better. That doesn’t make them any less dangerous. They are true believers in lies they have been told.

  14. avatar Hoyden says:

    I wonder how the Rohingya people would answer. Perhaps if they had a few rusty old SKS’s or Mosin-Nagant’s when the Govt. came to burn, shoot, drown, and rape their population….

    1. avatar Gordon in MO says:

      The Rohingya people in western Burma (Myanmar) are Muslim with a long history of attacks on the non-Muslim population who live nearby.

      The government finally made the decision to do what needs to be done in Europe and other places with Muslim terrorists, run them out.

      Not politically correct now days but when your community is attacked, your homes burned down, your family members killed and raped you might change your mind.

  15. avatar Ralph says:

    When they’re talking about getting rid of the guns, what they’re really talking about is getting rid of us.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      Damn straight, Ralph.

      They want us *gone*.

      I say we give them what they want, a gun-free country.

      Say California…

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        … with a border enforced by men with *guns*! No wall needed, trespassers will be shot, survivors will be shot again.

  16. avatar ATFAgentBob says:

    Jesus tap dancing Christ. Can we please get some form of freaking education for this generation of fucking idiots!? Holy shit if I had turned in a poll like that for a project in any of my middle school classes I would’ve gotten an F. No clear methodology, piss poor indirect questions, didn’t show margin of error, and the groups are poorly defined with no sample sizes given. Shit we need to overhaul our entire education system like NOW! Fire every single educator in the nation and start all over oh while we’re at it we may want to edit our definition of intelligence to include CRITICAL THINKING rather than just rote regurgitation of facts and use of very big complex words.

  17. avatar troutbum5 says:

    I have to wonder how many of the “if fewer people had guns” respondents were thinking of getting guns out of the hands of criminals. I’d say close to half. In that case, that puts the real number of idiots at about 29%

  18. avatar Chris Mallory says:

    Most of them are not Americans. They are immigrants or the children of immigrants. If you ask them they will call themselves German Americans, Irish Americans, Jewish Americans, Italian Americans, or some other hybridization of American. Adding anything to American means you are not American. All immigration has been bad for Traditional Americans and our freedoms.

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      Hmm, that’s strange, I could have sworn all white people in America were immigrants once. Mostly English, but plenty of Dutch, of course French, then Scots and Irish who started arriving in the early 18th century. To say nothing of the Spanish in Florida who would later become the owners of what was the territory encompassed within the Louisiana Purchase. There is no sin in recalling one’s heritage.

  19. avatar strych9 says:

    Have ya’ll obtained a copy of the internals for this poll? I’d love to go through them carefully.

    I was debating requesting the internals (as per their instructions) but I figured CBS would probably just tell me to kick rocks while wearing moccasins since they probably don’t much like TTAG.

  20. avatar Reggie browning says:

    Actually, I’m one of those fence straddles mentioned in the article… Technically. I’m very pro gun, and I certainly see a personal benifit to having a gun around, however, I haven’t been able to find any significant evidence that guns make society safer. The data seems to suggest the presence of guns has no overall effect on crime rates, which is enough reason for me to be pro gun.

    1. avatar MamaLiberty says:

      Are you leaving out of your figuring the many thousands, maybe millions of times people successfully defend themselves with their guns – most often without having to fire them? I suspect so. Even though that number is not known, can not be known, each and every one prevented a crime, or ended the crime successfully. Since we can’t know how many, or measure the “rate” then, it’s easy to forget that these unknown self defenders are seriously relevant… to themselves if nobody else.

      This idea that everything has to be measured, rated, and related to society as a whole is bad thinking, far as I can see. “Society” is simply a large group of individuals.

      I’m so glad you are “pro-gun,” but I have little idea what you actually mean by that.

      1. avatar Reggie Briwning says:

        No, that is what I classify as a personal benifit. If a burglar breaks into your house with the intention of killing you and burgling your stuff, then in that instance you are safer because you have a gun. Gun ownership greatly benifits individuals who exercise that right.

        However, I would consider a societal benifit to be something that benifits society as a whole. It would have to benifit everyone, even those who don’t own guns, by deterring violent crime. There may be an argument that it does, but I haven’t seen a conclusive one yet. And I don’t have time to go into it at work.

        1. avatar Mack Bolan says:

          The elimination with prejudice of any criminal eliminates a vast tax burden on society, increases pubic safety and serves as a reminder to other hoodlums that they may have to pay with their lives for committing a crime.

          The societal benefit of gun ownership, is fairly obvious.

    2. avatar TX_Lawyer says:

      Be forewarned, the actual evidence on the linked website is very boring and much of it requires specialized statistical software. The articles and such referring to the data are also considered very boring by Mr. Farago. https://crimeresearch.org

  21. avatar zombietimeshare says:

    CBS interpretation of polling question, 79% demand confiscation of all firearms and elimination of Second Amendment. 21% are crazy terrorists who need to be hunted down and jailed.

  22. avatar strych9 says:

    I flamed CBS for this poll the other day. Why? Because this poll has some real oddities going on with it in terms of it’s methods and internals. Specifically the fact that they seem to be actively trying to hide them while still maintaining a basic facade of professionalism.

    First off, CBS still doesn’t give you internals for this poll AT ALL, which is odd in and of itself. But they’ve released a larger question set that confirms a poll done by YouGov, a world-wide polling group based out of London, UK. Now, CBS/YouGov polls are nothing really new and there’s nothing there to really raise a Spockian eyebrow about. However….

    The folks over at YouGov tell you that of course it’s all legit but won’t provide their actual work either. Instead they inform you that the data is all based on weights (which they don’t tell you) from the General Social Survey. If you want that information you have to download an SPSS or STATA data file and the programs to work with those files are EXPENSIVE. Last I checked SPSS was close to $10K for a single one year license. OTOH you can wade through GSS’s full data file from 1971-2016 which is a mere 3109 pages of PDF. Light reading, that.

    The only really useful stuff that YouGov tells you is that they’ve used some 2016 GSS numbers to properly weight their sample which is drawn from an opt-in panel. The final page of the data on the CBS site is basically useless without the actual crosstabs to confirm their work.

    Of course that still doesn’t tell you which specific weights YouGov decided to use nor how they did any of their crosstabs… So, in the interest of getting some sunshine on this I emailed YouGov asking for their full crosstabs and any other pertinent internal methodology and/or data. We’ll see what they say this week.

  23. avatar Higgs says:

    Fewer guns in the hands of law bidding citizens will make it safer … for criminals.

  24. avatar ironicatbest says:

    Without guns how are we to defend ourselves against a planetary invasion from outerspace, pitchforks and shovels?

    1. avatar Scoutino says:

      Board with a nail in it.
      https://youtu.be/zGEiK9StSfQ

  25. avatar cyberscan says:

    The question should be whether people should own guns. The question should be how do I MAKE my OWN Commercial quality GUN with less than $2000 in monetary investment.

    Answer that question, and other peoples’ edicts and Communist thinking will have little impact one way or another. It is easily done. Free the mind AND FREE YOUR NATION!

  26. avatar 2Asux says:

    Winning !!

  27. avatar Hannerin’Hank says:

    Each question is worded in such a way that it has multiple interpretations, making them meaningless.

  28. avatar Jim Macklin says:

    They will say… Nobody needs more than one shot to kill a deer. A flintlock musket was the 2A arm.
    I’ll ask… What if a gang invades your house?

    They’ll say… Never happens.
    I’ll repeat… What if your wife and kids are home alone and a gang of killers invades, what kind of gun do you want your wife to have, a flintlock or an AR?

    They will repeat… Never happens, get real.

    I’ll say… Sharron Tate, I’ll say Richard Speck It may not be common but that might be because of all the ARs everywhere except NYC and LA.

  29. avatar M. Atkinson says:

    We probably be a lot safer without knives, hammers, vehicles, ad infinitum, but I digress.

  30. avatar Leighton Cavendish says:

    It would be great if nobody drove drunk, too…but that seems to continue.
    Guns are here and NOT going away…
    Bans do NOT work…look at prohibition and the current failed/failing “war on drugs”…LMAO

  31. avatar Leighton Cavendish says:

    Many people are Ok with getting rid of guns…until you tell them what would be involved with it…
    constant searches of people and property to confiscate them and keep them unavailable…wholesale searches of vehicles…residences…properties…now and forever ongoing to keep them out of people’s hands…
    would be a LOT of civil rights violations…especially against black and brown young men…
    Just sayin’…

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