Marking the anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre, CBS News conducted a national poll on firearms and firearms-related issues. While the news org’s post focuses on attitudes towards mass shootings and gun control, there’s a lot of fascinating data in the survey that didn’t make the highlight reel. Check out the stats on defensive gun use (DGUs) . . .
That’s astounding. Eighty-one percent of the gun owners surveyed are at least somewhat confident that they could use their firearm to stop a threat. Another nineteen percent — the rest of the sample — figure they stand a fighting chance. Which of course they do.
That said, the survey question is flawed. The third choice should have been “not confident.” Full stop.
Adding “but at least I’d have a chance” encourages respondents who might have answered “somewhat confident” to select the third option. Stripped of the addition, what’s the difference between “somewhat confident” and “not that confident”?
Also, the question is vague. What does “resolve a situation” mean? Perforate the perp? Use the gun to scare the bad guy off? Or point and scoot?
There’s very little statistical data on defensive gun uses. Estimates of frequency vary wildly. But it’s often said that most DGUs end without a shot fired. Successfully.
So maybe the vast majority of gun owners are right to be confident in their ability to end a threat by force of arms. If so, is that confidence based on experience?
The CBS poll doesn’t tell us how many gun owner have received firearms instruction, mandatory or otherwise. But it clearly indicates that gun owners — and non-gun owners — favor mandatory training.
There are a lot of ways to interpret this result. I think it indicates an underserved desire for firearms training amongst gun owners, and an opportunity for firearms manufacturers to sell more guns by luring non-gun owners with training (fulfilling the first rule of sales…make it easy to buy).