The above pie chart comes courtesy washingtonpost.com. It arrived yesterday underneath the headline President Obama’s executive orders on guns are very popular. Even if he isn’t. “Strongly support” is the most popular response to “Would you support or oppose an executive action that would require anyone who sells a large number of guns per year to require background checks including those sold online or at gun shows?” You may also notice . . .
the words “a large number of guns.” Neither the President’s new executive orders nor the Post define the term “large number of guns.” What constitutes “a large number of guns” to you and me is certainly not what the average American considers “a large number of guns” – as evidenced by the mainstream media’s willingness to call a small collection of firearms an “arsenal.”
In any case, we can conclude — as the President does — that most Americans want sellers at gun shows to put their customers through a background check. However, 73 percent (53 percent plus the 20 percent who “somewhat support” the notion) does not constitute the “90 percent of Americans” that the President and other gun control advocates love to claim as the percentage of citizens who want to “close the gun show loophole.”
Interesting also that the Post doesn’t put exact numbers to the percentage of Americans who “somewhat oppose” or “strongly oppose” the Executive Order’s [supposed] intent to require background checks at gun shows. (It will do very little to achieve that end). The total number of those opposing the proposal is 27 percent, which is close to a third of those surveyed.
Question: how many of these respondents have been to a gun show or purchased a gun at a gun show? I’m thinking very, very few. I reckon the Post’s response reflects the percentage of Americans who support background checks generally. Would they support background checks for private, person-to-person sales? Maybe so. But maybe not in as great a number.
That said, the fact that 27 percent of our citizenry reject background checks at gun shows ain’t nothing. Remembering that a Department of Justice survey revealed that .7 percent of “crime guns” come from gun shows. Equally, that the right to keep and bear arms is subject neither to the democratic process or arguments of social utility. Which, factually, don’t add up. FWIW.