“In the online survey of a representative national sample of 1,009 American adults, 85 per cent of respondents believe that the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution means that individuals have the right to keep and bear arms, while only seven per cent openly disagree with this view.” Openly? Do the pollsters at angus-reid.com think that some Americans are secretly paying lip service to the Second Amendment? Anyway, I’m glad that’s settled. On to the important bit: regulations . . .

Americans are split when assessing existing federal regulations related to firearm ownership, with 44 per cent saying they are satisfied with these guidelines, and 44 per cent voicing dissatisfaction.

Here’s the actual question:

At this point, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with existing federal regulations related to firearm ownership?

Here’s my problem: I reckon the average Joe is pretty to completely ignorant about federal firearms regulations. I bet the only federal firearm regulation Joe Q. Public knows is that criminals can’t buy guns. And I bet that most of them wouldn’t be sure if that was a federal or state law.

AngusReid’s question is a general touchy feely sort of thing. On the other hand, I suppose that’s how people vote: ignorantly. How else can you explain the assault weapons ban? Anyway . . .

Republicans (52%), Independents (47%) and gun owners (54%) are more likely to say they are satisfied with the status quo, while Democrats (46%) and those who do not own a gun (47%) are more likely to be dissatisfied.

Huh? What percentage of each voting group are gun owners? How many non-gun owners in each political group were dissatisfied with current federal regulations (vs. gun owners)? What’s more important in terms of dissatisfaction with federal laws you don’t know: owning a gun or party affiliation?

Across the country, 46 per cent of respondents call for stricter firearms laws, with the highest level of support from Democrats (62%), Independents (51%) and Americans who do not possess a firearm (55%). Conversely, Republicans and gun owners would prefer to have either looser regulations or the continuation of existing ones.

OK, now were talking, only I still need to know how many members of each group own guns. And here’s a red flag for the pollster’s failure to cite the percentage of Republicans and gun owners who want looser regs and the percentage of those who favor the status quo.

Seven-in-ten Americans hold no reservations about people who are eligible to own firearms having access to handguns (73%) and rifles or shotguns (72%). However, only three-in-ten respondents (30%) feel the same way about semi-automatic weapons, with a majority (61%) suggesting that only the police and other authorized persons should have access to them.

Thirty percent of Americans believe that [an unknown percentage] of people who can own handguns legally shouldn’t? As for semi-automatic weapons, AngusReid’s question fails to recognize the fact that handguns, rifles and shotguns can all be semi-automatic firearms.

On the question of concealed carry—where states have enacted different regulations—half of respondents (51%) support the “shall-issue” notion of allowing citizens to carry a concealed weapon if they meet specific criteria laid out in the law. It is important to note that this prerogative is endorsed by a majority of Republicans (60%), Independents (53%) and gun owners (60%), as well as a plurality of Democrats (44%) and Americans who do not possess a firearm.

Eighty-five percent of people support the Second Amendment but only 50 percent believe citizens should be allowed to keep and bear arms so if they’re legally eligible. Go figure. [h/t to Phydeaux for the link]

NOTE: I failed to see the actual questions and the exact breakdown of responses in the methodology pdf. I apologize to AngusReid for this oversight. The text has been amended to reflect this new-to-me knowledge.

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50 Responses to 8550 of Americans Believe the Right to Keep and Bear Arms Means the Right to Keep and Bear Arms

  1. I’m thoroughly dissatisfied with gun regulations – there’s too many of them and they’re too confusing and inconsistent!

  2. Seven-in-ten Americans hold no reservations about people who are eligible to own firearms having access to handguns (73%) and rifles or shotguns (72%). However, only three-in-ten respondents (30%) feel the same way about semi-automatic weapons

    I checked their methodology link – it seems they presented these three exactly as it says: door #1: handguns, door #2: shotguns & rifles, door #3: semi-automatic firearms. I think they should have added one question to that: “Describe, in your own words, what it means to say a firearm is ‘semi-automatic’.”

    I would love to see those results.

    • I would love it if there were some education about firearms and what various firearms terms mean and do not mean across the population as a whole. At least then when we have a conversation about guns we can use a common, meaningful vocabulary. Of course, the other side wouldn’t agree to this, because using misleading terms is a favorite tactic of theirs.

    • The presentation itself would lead the respondent to think that ‘semi-automatics’ meant something other than pistols, rifles, and shotguns, since four classifications are offered and the first three are obviously non-overlapping categories. That interpretation is supported by the fact that so few gun-owners apparently thought semi-automatic was fine. It’s a meaningless statistic. Do you realize how great these numbers (even screwed-up numbers) are compared to opinion in, say, 1970? Slowly but surely education and experience are winning the day.

      • The presentation itself would lead the respondent to think that ‘semi-automatics’ meant something other than pistols, rifles, and shotguns, since four classifications are offered and the first three are obviously non-overlapping categories.

        My thoughts exactly. I’d love to see what the results would look like if the third category had been “percussion-cap weapons.” Or maybe they should ask whether people should be allowed “unitary cartridges”.

    • When I clicked on the methodology link, I got a pdf that repeated the exact same text as the article it was linked from. Transparency carries the day once again!

  3. Most everyday people don’t even know what semi-automatic means. Not to mention, “handguns” and “semi-automatic weapons” overlap quite a bit.

    Either the poll questions are misleading/bogus, the majority of Americans have no clue about the 2nd Amendment and firearms, or an extremely sizable number of Americans are total hypocrites an double-speakers…or all three. The numbers simply don’t add up; you can’t support the 2nd Amendment while not supporting the 2nd Amendment.

    edit: As an experiment, I called my mother – a New Jersey-raised person deathly fearful of guns – and asked her to describe in her own words what semi-automatic means in relation to guns. She said, “A mechanism that makes the trigger stop before the bullets keep going.” And she believes “the semi-automatic” can be taken out of any gun. Make of that what you will.

  4. Sounds like the survey was made by someone who doesn’t know much about guns or gun laws, was asked to the same, and subsequently led to inconclusive results.

    Shocking.

    • Sounds like the survey was made by someone who doesn’t know much about guns or gun laws, was asked to the same, and subsequently led to inconclusive results.

      Shocking.

      Or much about surveys, statistics, or analysis either.

  5. “Automatic”and “Semi Auto” are sometimes used by people well-versed in firearms interchangeably-as in “I have a 45 Automatic”-someone ignorant about firearms can get all worked up over that and start thinking “machine gun”.
    Sly gun grabbers opportunistically use that common mixing of terms to imply something sinister.
    I have a 38 SuperAuto pistol- I guess some member of the Manhattan West Side brunch persuasion might think one can shoot down jets with it.

    • What’s really annoys me is when ignorant people go the other way. For some reason, the writers on Hawaii Five-O have gotten into the heads that weapons that fire multiple rounds with each pull of the trigger are “semi-automatics”.

      Uh, okay.

  6. I once met a guy who told me “I don’t have problems with guns for hunting. I just don’t want people to own guns that are lethal to humans. You can’t kill a person with a hunting rifle, right?”

    • Reminds me of an episode of “Alaska State Troopers” where the narrator was talking about poachers and mentions in a sinister tone “armed with weapons capable of dropping a moose with a single shot.”

      What do you expect them to do? Chase a wounded bull moose all over BF Alaska adminstering the Death of A Thousand Cuts?

  7. 6 years ago, a convicted felon bought a Glock 19 at a gun show. He then used it to rob people, until he robbed his last person, my 25 year old cousin. She’d just gotten married a three months before. He shot her to death for no good reason. She choked to death on her own blood, according to the officer who found her in the parking lot.
    I own a Glock 19, and I shoot it regularly at the range. I believe in the right to bear arms. But I cannot fathom why we don’t just close the gun-show and private seller loophole. Its too goddamn easy for criminal assholes to take advantage of greedy assholes who’ll willingly sell them guns. Yeah, he could’ve bought it on the black market if there wasn’t a gun show… but maybe it’d have taken him longer to find someone who’d sell it to him at risk of being arrested…
    I’m sorry if most of you guys disagree with me on this, but I read this blog regularly and this is the first comment I’ve ever posted. The NRA thinks if we close the loophole, then it’ll be a “slippery slope” and the black helicopters will come and take away all our guns. Isn’t there some kind of middle ground here? Can’t we get someone else to represent us, who doesn’t regularly promote completely nutso paranoia… Jesus… apologies if I seem off balance, but most of you don’t know what its like to go to a wedding and then that same person’s funeral within 12 weeks of each other….

    • Josh, I’m sorry for your loss.

      I’ve bought guns in private transactions and haven’t killed anybody yet. I’ve also sold guns in private transactions, and to the best of my knowledge the buyers haven’t killed anyone either. I did lose a dear friend to a drunk driver who bought his car from a drinking buddy of his, but I’m not trying to close the used car loophole.

      It’s real easy to blame the object and not the person who wields it, but you might as well blame the company who made the firearm, the company who made the cartridges, or anyone else — but the only villain is the person who killed your cousin.

      I’m sorry. I know that you need someone else to focus on and strike out against. It’s called “misplaced aggression,” and it’s not uncommon. I guess if it makes you feel better, then it’s okay for you. I mean that. But for me, no. Count me out.

      • I see where you are coming from. I think that every man and woman in this country, who isn’t a felon, should be able to go anywhere they want with a concealed or open carry gun. No exceptions. In our case, the felon bought from a private seller at the show. Maybe they should just find a way to make sure felons can’t even get into the show… I don’t know.. there has to be a way to prevent these guys from buying guns at legitimate places.

        • Josh, you’re absolutley right about closing that “loophole,” or whatever you want to call it. But, good luck getting much agreement around here. Ralph’s response is typical – he’s bought guns privately and he’s never killed anyone. Of course being a lawyer, he was slick enough to precede that FLAME DELETED with his condolences for your cousin.

        • Josh, replace “felon” with “drunk driver” and “gun” with “car”. It might make sense to deny habitual drunk drivers the right to buy a car and therefore to require dealers to run a background check before allowing a sale to go through. (Legally, this is actually less problematic than an NICS check since there’s no right to own transportation in the Constitution.)

          Anyway, a drunk driver might circumvent such a system by buying a car from a private individual, and might then drive drunk and kill someone. So the next thing that occurs is to ban the private sales of cars. The problem is that all sorts of normal, non-drunk-driving people buy and sell cars every day. Does it really make sense to further restrict their activities in the hopes of stopping the very small number of bad actors?

        • Maybe they should just find a way to make sure felons can’t even get into the show

          Keep them in jail?

        • If the guy can’t get into the show, he can buy a gun from a private seller in the parking lot.

    • +1. There has to be a way to keep criminals on the run while preserving the 2nd amendment. That is the key to ending the rkba debate.

    • I sympathize, Josh. Well, as much as I can, without really understanding what you and your family have had to deal with.

      Of course we all agree that firearms should be kept out of the hands of violent criminals. But the fact is, there is no gun show loophole, at least not anymore. Here in PA (where there is very little gun control of any sort), sellers at gun shows must follow all the same rules as licensed dealers. I don’t know other state’s laws, but have never heard of any state allowing any kind of sale at a gun show that would not also be legal at a dealer.

      • Is that a state law, or a gun show promoter rule?

        In Florida, private sales at gun shows are legal, and there are three main promoters of gun/knife shows here. One of those promoters had (has?) a rule disallowing private sales at their shows. I don’t know if it’s still in effect, I live in a different area now, and the promoter here has no such restriction.

    • Josh, there is no loophole. I’m sorry that you want to blame a person’s right to sell their property to another person for some douchebag’s actions, but there isn’t any loophole at all. Do you think that a “tax loophole” exists because you don’t have to collect sales tax if you sell your car to another person? Or we could take a look at countries like the UK that ban all guns so that criminals can’t get them and not only do they still get guns, but those who don’t feel like getting them simply use knives instead.

      You can pass all the laws and take away all the rights you want, but you won’t stop someone hellbent on theft or murder.

    • I’m so sorry for your loss. A wedding and a funeral should never be so close together.

      There is no foolproof way to completely prohibit felonious access to firearms. That’s why we want the good guys to have guns as well. Our hope is to prevent the loss of our loved ones through legal self defense.

      Many states have already closed this “loophole,” and require registration through a federally – licensed dealer. I always thought that was a reasonable measure.

  8. I really want to see how the survey was loaded. I mean, worded! Obviously it was all very aboveboard- there’s no possibility the questions were loaded. The fact that the results are completely contradictory is plainly a result of the clear fact most Americans both support and oppose further gun control. There’s no other way to explain the figures.

  9. Surveys will give whatever results the surveyors want. They word their questions for the response they wish to get. This is why surveys are basically useless, few if any are impartial, much like TV news and newspapers.

  10. I have heard this for quite a number of years…There are always the people that carry the view of both sides, due to lack of knowledge. When thier is a massive shooting envolving Semiautomatics, Media goes wild. That word, “Semiautomatic” has become the best bait in the barrel. You get the extreem antigunners, and the Supporters of the Second Amendment, and the common people that: “just don’t know, but everyone else is worried, shouldn’t I be?” It is amazing how people can blame a physical item for the actions of a group, or individual. “Damn those knives!!! Look at the number of people they have hurt, and or wounded!” Oh, they are a neccesity in this world? “Firearms are made for killing!” But they are a tool also. Hunting, Sports, and Protection. One should not damn one item, and bless another because of the same thing.

  11. Lies and Damn Lies aside, we’ve still got an image problem. The gun show loophole is gone, mostly, and I think that’s for the good, others will disagree. Private sales are impossible to regulate, so why bother? Lets bring guns into the mainstream. Stop acting like redneck a-h*%les. I’m optimistic. We Shall Overcome.

  12. Survey’s like this are worthless. I’m surprised they didn’t come up with 95% agreement that the 2nd Amendment is about individual rights. Most people don’t even understand the difference between individual and collective, in this context.

    • And you, FLAME DELETED, are one of those people that doesn’t understand the difference between and individual and a collective right. You also aren’t capable of understanding that a collective (read: group of people) is comprised on individuals, so if you take away a right from individuals, you take away the right from the “collective” as well.

      • So pointing out that Mikey is a troll is now “flaming”? I’m definitely starting to wonder now if the conspiracy people are right and Mikey really is a paid member of TTAG to drum up page hits when people come back to argue with him.

        • Up until a couple months ago when Robert installed that neat e-mail alert about new comments and new posts I was at best an occasional commenter. Maybe that was before your time here Totenglocke, I don’t remember exactly when you moved in and began pretending you owned the joint.

          During the time of my occasional visiting of the blog, it was taking off and breaking new records month after month, just like it continues to do now.

          Don’t you think it’s kinda silly to attribute any part of that to my presence? Really?

          The reason “troll” could be considered flaming is because that’s exactly what it is. I’m not that. I’m a guy who does not agree with you and just about everybody else who comments here. Why do you and a handful of others have such a hard time accepting that?

    • I’m sure you understand the difference. “Individual” is that pesky thing that freedom is all about, which this country was founded upon, that guarantees each person self-determination. God, don’t you hate that? Those stupid individual freedoms get in the way of your totalitarian utopia.

      “Collective” is that system that worked so incredibly well under Stalin that the USSR is still flourishing today, and came about with absolutely no oppression or bloodshed. And its legacy continues in bastions of peace, freedom, and human rights like mainland China.

      If only people would brace the unerring collective and bow to their governmental overlords, all would be wonderful. If history has taught is nothing else, it’s that.

  13. Not that I don’t like the numbers in favor of 2A rights, I do, but these survey results are unbelievable as they are critically flawed from inception; the “panelists” are on the “payroll.”

    From their website: “Methodology: From January 17 to January 18, 2012, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey among 1,009 American adults who are Springboard America panelists. …”

    … and …

    “Springboard America gives Americans [panelists] like you the opportunity to speak up on what affects their daily lives – from products to politics. By joining Springboard, one of America’s leading online research communities, you’ll become eligible to receive invitations to our surveys, earn Survey Dollars and to help shape America’s future!”

  14. For the benefit of those who may not know the actual purpose and intent of the IIA, clarification as follows:

    The First 10 Amendments to the Constitution as Ratified by the States December 15, 1791
    PREAMBLE Congress OF THE United States.
    “THE Conventions of a number of the States having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution..”

    Amendment II “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

    http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights_transcript.html

    Any Questions?

  15. If I could have what I want , it would be a congress that truly represents MY point of view.

    Not these two Senators from Maine. Susan Collins is a RINO, and King is a Self serving Democrat in independent clothes.

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