Political Scientists: Gun Owners are Politically Weaker than People Think

courtesy Washington Times

Think only one-quarter of the population has guns in the house, do you? <laughs in private sales gun owners>

“I would argue non-gun owners still overestimate the size of gun ownership, because gun owners seem politically powerful in the United States because it seems so hard to put restrictions on guns,” [said University of Kansas political scientist] Haider-Markel.

If more Americans knew the real size of the gun-owning population in the U.S., they might view that population as politically weaker, he said.

– AP News for Washington Times, Most Americans Overestimate Gun Ownership

As for being politically weaker, well, I will say I think a sad majority of gun owners are politically lazy….


  1. avatar pwrserge says:

    All political power comes from the barrel of a gun.

    1. avatar L says:

      The barrel won’t do much if nobody’s willing to put a finger behind the trigger…

      1. avatar Huntmaster says:

        Ah…. maybe you better go put a little more time on the range.

        1. avatar L says:

          If any of *my* guns had a malfunction that serious they would be subsequently unloaded and tossed into the range trash bin.

        2. avatar Geoff "Bring the EDIT button back, will ya, TTAG?" PR says:

          Why throw it out when you can turn that junk gun into a ‘buyback’ and pocket some cash?

      2. avatar tfunk says:

        Umm…wouldn’t putting your finger behind the trigger keep it from firing?

    2. avatar Kenneth says:

      ““All political power comes from the barrel of a gun. The communist party must command all the guns, that way, no guns can ever be used to command the party.”
      – Mao Tze Tung, Nov 6 1938”
      “I gave the categorical order to confiscate the largest possible number of weapons of every sort and kind. This confiscation, which continues with the utmost energy, has given satisfactory results.”
      – Benito Mussolini, address to the Italian Senate, 1931”

      1. avatar pwrserge says:

        Somebody’s been reading the history books. The left knows damn well that their socialist utopia will never be allowed to exist while the population is armed to any serious degree.

        1. avatar Phil Wilson says:

          There is certainly that. Another part of it is that they see the 2nd amendment as one of the most vulnerable. I would guess that the average leftist would much rather practice censorship than gun confiscation, but they go hand-in-hand anyway.

        2. avatar jakee308 says:

          You spelled “Dystopia” wrong.

      2. avatar TommyJay says:

        Sin City quote

        Senator Roark: Power don’t come from a badge or a gun. Power comes from lying. Lying big, and gettin’ the whole damn world to play along with you. Once you got everybody agreeing with what they know in their hearts ain’t true, you’ve got e’m by the balls.

        We live in a world awash with electronic propaganda.

      3. avatar JHW says:

        In the same paragraph, he said, ” Yet, having guns, we can create Party organizations, as witness the powerful Party organizations which the Eighth Route Army has created in northern China.
        We can also create cadres, create schools, create culture, create mass movements. Everything in Yenan has been created by having guns.
        All things grow out of the barrel of a gun. According to the Marxist theory of the state, the army is the chief component of state power. Whoever wants to seize and retain state power must have a strong army. Some people ridicule us as advocates of the “omnipotence of war”. Yes, we are advocates of the omnipotence of revolutionary war; that is good, not bad, it is Marxist.
        The guns of the Russian Communist Party created socialism. We shall create a democratic republic. Experience in the class struggle in the era of imperialism teaches us that it is only by the power of the gun that the working class and the labouring masses can defeat the armed bourgeoisie and landlords; in this sense we may say that only with guns can the whole world be transformed.
        We are advocates of the abolition of war, we do not want war; but war can only be abolished through war, and in order to get rid of the gun it is necessary to take up the gun.” -PROBLEMS OF WAR AND STRATEGY, Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung, Vol. II, pg. 225

    3. avatar JHW says:

      You’re misquoting Mao. Mao said, “Change comes from the barrel of a gun.”

      True political power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical, aquatic ceremony…

      1. avatar pwrserge says:

        Hate to break this to you, but the “mandate of the masses” has been largely irrelevant for 99.99% of human history.

        1. avatar Kenneth says:

          But only because the masses are sheep, always ready to run whenever the dog barks. But when they wake up….. hoooo boy! I predict there will be hell to pay, for somebody. It will be exciting, at a minimum.

      2. avatar Sian says:

        Strange women lying in ponds dispensing swords is no basis for a system of government!

        1. avatar pwrserge says:

          I disagree… I’d rather live under a Pendragon than a Demokkkommie.

        2. avatar JHW says:

          Oh! Now we see the violence inherent in the System!

          Come and see the violence inherent in the system! Help! Help! I’m being repressed!

        3. avatar John in AK says:

          Bloody peasant!

        4. avatar Kenneth says:

          Dennis! There’s some wonderful filth over here!
          Washington, DC, I think she was talking about…

  2. avatar Pg2 says:

    Intended Translation: The Bill of Rights days are numbered.

    1. avatar Quasimofo says:

      Yeah, Haider-Markel puts it out there via his implication. Nothing like having your rights determined by the tyranny of the majority…

      1. avatar GS650G says:

        It’s been attributed to Ben Franklin but probably a few others as well that democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what’s for dinner

        1. avatar Merlin says:

          And Liberty is a well-armed sheep contesting the election results.

        2. avatar Merlin says:

          And Liberty is well-armed sheep contesting the election results.

    2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      Well that’s the goal. The Bill of Rights is only as powerful as the peoples’ will to adhere to it. And no amendment is as fiercely attacked or defended as the 2nd Amendment, so marginalizing it’s defenders to diminish their political clout is an obvious tactical move in the war against the Bill of Rights.

    3. avatar VicRattlehead says:

      Political scientist
      Person who adheres to no strict scientific method and cherry-picks, or manipulates data that supports their opinion, if any research is even performed at all.
      See also: worthless fields of study

      1. avatar Bob Jones says:

        The various university “Schools of Public Service” should be closed down for rampant fraud propagation.

    4. avatar Mad Max says:

      I would say that those that want to destroy the Bill of Rights will be stopped by those “politically weak” (more likely, as someone else here said, “lazy”) but heavily armed gun owners.

      “Politically weak” does not preclude “physically strong”.

      Just ask Aleric.

  3. avatar Cruzo1981 says:

    People who haven’t grasped reading comprehension this far in the game are “weak”. Shall not be infringed means?

  4. avatar Aaron Walker says:

    Come on people! Fellow taxpayers! Fight the Future! Or else, get ready to be arrested for “Though-Crimes/Wrong-Think/Declared an Enemy of the State! ” Were becoming a NOT SO Free Country! DON’T just post here! Get out there and grassroots! We the people NEED to change the political climate so it works for the American Taxpayers, NOT the Liberals/Globalists!

  5. avatar FortWorthColtGuy says:

    LGBTs are approximately 3% of the population. But with media, constant “LGBT” awareness events and bathroom Bill’s you would think they are 60% of the population. It’s funny how inconsistent liberals are.

    1. avatar pwrserge says:

      3% is a gross overestimate.

    2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      It’s funny how hypocritical liberals are.

      And actually it’s not really funny.

      1. avatar Ing says:

        In that, they are absolutely consistent.

    3. avatar binder says:

      I just read up on his bio and guess what half his publishing is on. So he definitely has an agenda.

    4. avatar Pg2 says:

      When it comes to advancing the anti family, anti western, communist agenda, the left prioritizes fringe groups. When it comes to indivual freedoms, the left uses manufactured majority consent. Not rocket science.

  6. avatar binder says:

    This ” University of Kansas political scientist” needs to be fires if he does NOT understand the power of block voting.

  7. avatar Alex Waits says:

    It’s a misleading statement, “Gun ownership” isn’t reserved for one political ideology. So it can’t be “politically weak”. Every political platform has its subsect of gun owners, from hard core communists, hard left, liberals, antifa, centrists, right wing, republican, ancaps libertarians etc..

    The phantom of “declining gun owners” is just as fake news as “gun violence”.

    1. avatar Ing says:

      Might be weaker than you think. 6 of the 8 groups you mentioned would be perfectly happy to see guns taken away from everyone except themselves, and 4 of the 8 would happily send stormtroopers to do it right now.

  8. avatar GunnyGene says:

    Really ignorant conclusion drawn by the author and the study/poll. Really ignorant.

    1. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

      Someone has to come up with propaganda for the Trace.

  9. avatar tdiinva says:

    You don’t have to be a gun owners to support the Second Amendment just as you don’t have to be a criminal to support the Fourth

    1. avatar Southern Cross says:

      And then the 5th.

  10. avatar Shire-man says:

    So then where are my minority protections? The nation bends over backwards to appease populations that make up 2%, 4% and 12% of the nation. So is this 39% number a minority easily trampled upon or a majority not worthy of protection?

    1. avatar Southern Cross says:

      If you are white, more so if you are Male, being a bourgeois capitalist exploiter of the oppressed proletariat you must be punished and show atonement for the “crimes” committed not only by your ancestors but also anyone not even remotely related.

      Basically it is a cultural guilt trip.

      Perhaps this explains not only gender fluidity but also racial fluidity so SJWs can claim they are not associated with the oppressors.

  11. avatar Draven says:

    they probably believe that paper written by the guy who used probate records to ‘prove’ colonial era people didn’t own guns…

  12. avatar GS650G says:

    So many people of all political stripes are gun owners it would surprise them if they knew. Of course their supporters don’t admit this and instead feel not only will they be exempted from the restrictions due to their correct beliefs but the Great Unwashed needs to be disarmed.
    Just like rich people supporting socialists, they think they will escape the rules.

  13. avatar Bob Jones says:

    Political Scientists in Fall 2016 : “Hillary will crush Trump”.

  14. avatar Wedge259 says:

    This is Kansas man. Aside from your hippy-liberal-commie college town of Lawrence, nobody here cares about your opinion.

    1. avatar possum the wanted a nice day pissed off possum says:

      Ks. res here, How many true Kansans do you know that have the name Haedir? None, I keep my prejudices to my myself, but this sounds like a rag head take over to me. Also the number of gunn owners in Ks. is way low, damn neart everyone I know has a gunn, might not be on paper but theyz a bunch o gunns in this State. Hadier you can suck sht out of the rear end ofa possum. G damn I’m going full blown joeR on this one….. Lawrence, yeah well, Bloody Kansas ,Mo Fo , come get em

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Don’t forget “evil POS (D)” in every sentence!

        1. avatar SouthAl says:

          AND MORE CAPS.

  15. avatar Wedge259 says:

    Also, it might just be me but I think the guy in the photo is wearing a kilt.

    1. avatar Ogre says:

      Correct! A kilt in Black Watch tartan it is. Give that man a cigar.

    2. avatar SoCalJack says:

      What caught my eye was not the kilt, but the pistol set up for “cavalry twist” draw. Now I have old western movie music playing in my head.

    3. avatar Wedge259 says:

      I noticed because the first time I met my brother in law he was wearing a kilt and had a neon blue mohawk. Interesting first impression, but he’s a pretty cool guy, just built his own house and has a safe ROOM in the basement.

  16. avatar anarchyst says:

    Many firearms owners will not disclose that they have firearms, rightly so. it is NO ONE’S BUSINESS how many or what type of firearms a person possesses.

    1. avatar Southern Cross says:

      So the baseline of his dataset is already flawed.

  17. avatar Aven says:

    I think this character must live in a different world than most of us. Of all the people I know, I am aware of only one family that does not have one or more guns in the house (a coddled Yankee that has lived a shelter life for 72 years). I live in a rural area and know people of every age and political persuasion. The most liberal left wing friend I know has a 38 revolver in his nightstand and his wife does also. Some of the most timid older ladies know keep a small handgun in their possession every time they leave their house.

    1. avatar Ogre says:

      “I think this character must live in a different world than most of us.”

      Of course he does! He lives in Ivory Tower Land on a university campus. It is not the same world as the rest of us live in.

  18. avatar former water walker says:

    Keep believing gun owner’s have no power. “WE” need to flex our muscles big time. He!! even in ILLinois gun owner’s could control the state. A republic if we can keep it…

    1. avatar SoCalJack says:

      We need a leader to unite us, full understanding of the enemies of 2A, and multifacited plan of attack. Who, why and how?

      1. avatar possum says:

        joeR in 2020

  19. avatar W says:

    Politicians bend over backwards for groups far smaller than gun owners. One would expect Haider-Markel to know this and perhaps to admit it. Then again SJWs are all about the agenda and less concerned with objective analysis.

  20. avatar rt66paul says:

    Most people vote with their pocketbooks. I remember peaceniks (my friends’ parents who were dead set against the war in VietNam) who voted for Nixon. They voted for him because they were financially conservative.
    This is the same with gun rights. I know many people who you would never guess had guns, because of their hippy leanings. Don’t be so sure you know how people think, Americans have American views.

  21. avatar Hannibal says:

    They’re right, but for a different reason. It’s not that gun owners’ numbers are exaggerated, it’s that they have less and less leverage. Under what circumstances would gun owners NOT vote for the republican ticket? It’s not a similar problem as blacks have with the democratic party. Turnout is the only question.

    It didn’t use to be this bad but two things have exacerbated the situation. First, the continued polarization of the parties; there are fewer and fewer democrats that will claim to support pro-2nd policies, and even less that will do it when elected. Second, relatedly, all sorts of social issues have been tied up to gun rights. If a politician supports gun rights but isn’t trying to outlaw abortion, he’s not gonna get votes from pro-gun people. If he’s not rabidly anti-Obamacare, no votes. If he’s not for building a wall. Pro net neutrality. Etc, etc.

    You can think what you want on these issues, and maybe they’re more important to you than the 2nd Amendment, but the fact is that it means gun owners barely matter at all to political calculations. Someone’s political positions on guns hardly matter at all, except in a primary. If you have an R next to your name running against a D, gun owners will vote for you whether you screw them over or not.

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      Edit: *It IS a similar problem to the one blacks have with the democratic party.

    2. avatar Ing says:

      This is true. Gun owners are a captive demographic.

      Republican politicians know that they have to pander to us at certain times, and at all others they can safely ignore us or even sell us out like Rick Scott in Florida, because we have nowhere else to go.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        While that is true, somebody needs to make clear that we just might choose to spend our political donation fund on more guns and ammo, the time we could volunteer in a campaign could also be used at the range, and come election day we might take the opportunity to clean our guns.

    3. avatar possum the wanted a nice day pissed off possum says:

      It’s beyond Dem vs Rep, they’re one of the same, good cop bad cop. Can no one see what’s happening to this country? And the world fears our fall and falling we are. “They”ve’ Infiltrated us. Learn to speak es Espanol then Arabic, then Chinese because to be a good subject, lu pan du pann, Didi mau, with no place to go.,,. ,,, Strange I cut my hair off last night, usually when I do that shtf

    4. avatar balais says:

      Thats true.

      The troubling thing is that many of us left gun owners (I flat out refuse to vote for pro-gun control politicians too, even if I agree with them on 75% of the other stuff) are stuck with a choice of which rights we want to get rat fucked out of.

      1. avatar possum says:

        What I want to know is why do we need to get rat fcked? Too me it’s silly to vote for one party or the other on the basis of the 2a, however it’s more then just that, the 2a is what put the teeth in the rest of the words on paper, and I see something/ someone (oh I know who that faction is, best keep my mouth shut)?, ?? is pulling those teeth

  22. avatar EricO says:

    Since their inception, guns have been 100% about politics. Novel uses not withstanding, whether that use is at the national or individual level, a firearm is the ultimate expression of politics. A person who refuses to arm themselves, is not nearly as willing to enforce their politics as someone who does arm themself.

  23. avatar Kyle says:

    We’re not political weaker, we’re politically impotent!

    The right wing knows we got no where to go, so they promise the world and deliver zero.

    Only the state governments even give us a passing thought.

  24. avatar LarryinTX says:

    When/if we end up with a civil war, a good portion of the reason will be that too many people allowed or encouraged the government to believe it knew where all the guns were. It would not surprise me if 75% of Americans owned firearms, rather than 33% as is “common knowledge” except that no one knows. Even where registration is required, you know not all are registered, and *no* criminal registers his. Thus, our enemies grow bolder and bolder as they assume that there are fewer and fewer people owning fewer and fewer guns. Because they are both stupid and ignorant, they apparently believe guns disappear after a few years, so they don’t need to consider any firearms made more than a decade ago, they’re all gone.

    1. avatar Phil Wilson says:

      “When/if we end up with a civil war, a good portion of the reason will be that too many people allowed or encouraged the government to believe it knew where all the guns were.”

      Perhaps there’s some truth to this. Though, I’d suggest that if we end up in a civil war, it will ultimately be because we allowed the leftists to take control of education.

      1. avatar Widdler says:

        I agree Phill, education system where I live is HORRIBLE. A lot of adults I talk to don’t even know when the constitution was written, let alone how many amendments there are. There’s a lot of focus on Hawaiian histroy here, it’s our culture so I understand how important it is to know where we came from. But seriously, what good dose it really do in todays world. Makes people feel more oppressed and angry than it dose anything else if you ask me.

      2. avatar Southern Cross says:

        It might last a few years but with most rural areas would be Republican, and so would the majority of the military.

        The Democrats would be limited to the west coast, most of the north east, and many of the major urban centers.

        Wars are more won by logistics. The blue enclaves would find their resources cut off and within a short period they will eventually feed on each other. The east coast could easily be split into three or more pockets which is not a good defensive position.

    2. avatar Widdler says:

      I’ve been working in retail for the past 10 years, in a city not so big. I see a lot of the same faces every week, and it always surprises me who I meet at the range from time to time. Or at the LGS for that matter, had no idea they were shooters. Reminds me of “Fight Club” we’re everywhere.

      1. avatar MyName says:

        Uh, first rule, c’mon man.

  25. avatar Timothy Toroian says:

    I think any gun owner who is not an NRA member is kidding themselves, even those who belong to GOA. Why the two can’t get together is beyond me except it reminds me of the Freedom Caucus in Congress which has principle but has accomplished squat but get so dogmatic that Democrats got elected where Republican should have.

    1. avatar possum the wanted a nice day pissed off possum says:

      Divide and conquer,

  26. avatar Arizona Free says:

    One important stat that is overlooked and I’m sure it’s on purpose. When a caller asked if you have a firearm and you say yes do they count the spouse? Most households that have firearms have at least a supportive spouse. When you die your spouse and or children carry on the ownership. If I get a call asking about firearm ownership I’m sure they don’t want to know about my wife and three kids that have firearms. It’s kind of like a pyramid scheme except I continue to invest in and my kids get all my stuff when I die. Forgot to mention the grandkids are starting to buy firearms.

    1. avatar Southern Cross says:

      These “researchers” must consider it a crime to lie when they call people to question them.

      Until it actually is a crime to lie on these “surveys”, I will continue to lie if asked about firearm ownership.

      The lies go both ways. Do I know who the caller really is and who they represent? Caller IDs can be faked. With my phone number they can easily find my name and address. And what happens to the data afterwards? So I have every reason to lie.

    2. avatar possum says:

      Most of my firearms were destroyed in the fire, I’ still have enuff to arm every family member in my circle. All of those firearms are off paper( thank you Bill Clinton) if ask about MY firearms,”Gunz, I don’t have any gunz, don’t like gunz, don’t want gunz” , I am probably not the only one with that philosophy.

  27. avatar Donald Rutledge says:

    Political Scientists are weak minded communists who never served in the military much less combat, screw the communists in the education system

  28. avatar m. says:

    don’t care what a poly-sci d-sucker has to say about anything

  29. avatar Ralph says:

    Ralph: University of Kansas political scientist Haider-Markel is Mentally Weaker than People Think.

    And brother, that’s really saying something.

    BTW, “Political Science” is a complete oxymoron — even if it was my undergrad major.

  30. avatar strych9 says:

    He’s lying. Flat out lying.

    As a political scientist he knows two things damn right well:

    That in relation to civil rights political power derived from group size isn’t supposed to matter in our system and historically, over time, doesn’t. Machine politics proves this and if he doesn’t know that he should be fired. Calothics, Irish, Poles, Jews and others all punched well below their weight at one point and later well above their weight.

    Were what he says worth the powder to blow it to hell black people wouldn’t have the right to vote and even after they got the franchise in 1870 they never would have ended segregation because they were only about 10.5% of the population in 1960, a number that rose to only to 12.6% in the next 50 years.

    Secondly, he knows that gun ownership is notoriously difficult to study and that no one really knows what percentage of the population owns firearms. Tons of political science folks, myself included, have studied this to no avail. In truth, if I’m entirely honest I have to say that my best guess on firearms ownership is 30-65% of the population based on the widely varying data I’ve seen. That’s a wide enough spread as to barely be worth discussing. To peg it at any particular number within that range or slightly outside the range is meaningless and effectively based on opinion.

    It’s entirely possible that gun owners currently punch well above or below what actual numbers, if we knew them, would indicate. There are numerous reasons for this regardless of the direction it’s going.

    This guy is just trying to get attention. Bet he has a grant proposal coming up or will be publishing something soon.

    1. avatar strych9 says:

      Or he’s angling for a better job as an adviser to a politician or gun control group.

  31. avatar Chip in Florida says:

    “..the real size of the gun-owning population in the U.S.,”

    So you’re trying to say that Constitutional Rights are, or should be, based on how many people exercise the particular right in question? Like since so incredibly few people ever use the protections guaranteed by the Third Amendment we should just go ahead and throw it out?

  32. avatar possum the wanted a nice day pissed off possum says:

    Not to take away anything from the West coast east coast, and the south has done been whupped, if the Midwest fails ,it’s game over

  33. avatar Hal Lewis says:

    When you say Government you say Gun. In this country that means opposing sides both have guns. Any and all government cannot and will not allow opposition. All systems sustain themselves or they are not systems.

  34. avatar Hal Lewis says:

    “In truth, if I am entirely honest…” So there are times when you are not ENTIRELY honest? What have you done to yourself to be able to write such and not see your self deception? Insult is not my intent.

  35. avatar JHW says:

    Oddly enough, Socialism, like Marxism/Communism is a ECONOMIC system, not a political one.

    All Socialist and Communist economies were, and are, politically oligarchies, dictatorships or monarchies.

    Democracy is the political system of our republic, with Capitalism the economic one.

    Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Franco’s Spain were dictatorships. Post-Stalin Soviet Russia was an oligarchy, as is the Post-Mao PRC.

    Venezuela has become a dictatorship.

    The only really successful socialist economies were the city-states of Ancient Greece and they were monarchies.

    1. avatar Unrepentant Libertarian says:

      Socialism is an economic system. Communism is a political system that uses socialism to finance its government control of all aspects of life. Capitalism is an economic system (not a political system). Between the two economic and two political systems one can have several combinations!

  36. avatar possum says:

    It’s that damned rock and roll music, it’s all Elvis Presley’s fault.

  37. avatar Bob999 says:

    I do not buy that. New York safe act had, what, 5% compliance. There are other blue states where people are not obeying the gun laws the left has recently enacted. Even Sheriffs across the country have openly stated they won’t enforce these laws. No, I draw a completely different conclusion. People just don’t walk off their job and start a revolution at the first sign of intrusion. They work within the system, they nudge, until they realize there is no hope of peaceful resolution. Look, it took 10 years for the colonist to determine that the yoke of British tyranny could not be stopped via negotiation. It needs to simmer a while before the angry hammer of We The People comes down. It is our task as active 2nd amendment supporters to try to peacefully defuse and delay the Global-Socialists disarmament efforts so that history will show that we tried everything to advert war. (Btw, can anyone believe our country has devolved this much in such a short period that we are having these kinds of discussions? Let’s just hope the left gets the message that the 2nd amendment is not up for negotiation.)

  38. avatar Hal Lewis says:

    Roaches and other vermin run to cover when he light is turned on. But they always come out when the light is turned back off. Turning on the light is “Actionable” and can change an individual’s status to that of a terrorist. Whatever the system used in this country is called, the voters want the the light left off. They don’t want the light on them.

  39. avatar Jay Dee says:

    I think our good political scientist hasn’t a clue.

    First, would you admit to an unknown caller that you own guns? I wouldn’t and I haven’t.

    Second, do you answer truthfully to telephone calls from pollsters? I especially saw this during the 2016 election. All my immediate circle of friends answered polling calls like they were blue-dog Democrats. Hillary’s political scientists thought they had the state sewed up and moved their money elsewhere.

    Political science lives on polling data. Feed crap into the system and it all falls apart.

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