Friday, January 13, 2017

Pew Poll: Urban Officers favor People's Right to Arms

Pew Research has released a poll taken in the middle of 2016. Note that the Orlando night club massacre and the massive media hype calling for a ban on "assault weapons" occurred one third of the way through the survey period for police.  The shooting of five police officers in Dallas, with a rifle occurred half way through the survey period.

The public survey was conducted two months after the Orlando Pulse shooting, at the height of the establishment media demonization of "assault weapons", and one month after the shooting of five officers in Dallas. 

The poll is more correctly a poll of urban police officers than of all police officers.  Rural and small town police officers were excluded from the poll. Those officers make up 37% of the officers in police and sheriff's departments in the country. Even the urban officers strongly favored the right to arms. From
Police officers are considerably more likely than the general public to say it is more important to protect the rights of Americans to own guns than it is to control gun ownership (74% of officers vs. 53% of the public).
Both urban police and the public expressed support of a national database to track gun sales.  Precisely what is meant by that is left to the readers imagination. The public portion of this poll was taken at the height of establishment media propaganda for more restrictions on guns after the Orlando Pulse shooting.
A majority of police and a larger share of the public also support the creation of a federal database to track gun sales (61% and 71%, respectively).
There is an enormous split between urban police attitudes about banning "assault style" (whatever that means) weapons, and the public attitude. Again, these surveys were taken, for the most part, shortly after the Orlando Pulse shooting.
However, the consensus on guns vanishes when the focus turns to assault-style weapons. About two-thirds of Americans (64%) but only about a third of police (32%) favor outlawing assault weapons.
This is not surprising. Urban police almost never encounter semi-automatic rifles in the course of their duties. They know that overall, rifles, such as the many AR15 variants and various AK type variants, are extremely rare in crime. Many officers, even urban officers, are familiar with these type of rifles and have qualified with them.

That cannot be said for the general public. The public survey was taken exclusively after the Orlando Pulse massacre and the media driven propaganda aimed at banning "assault weapons".

After the Orlando shooting the term "assault weapon" was conflated with AR and AK variants. This is why Pew asked about "assault-style" weapons rather than "assault weapons" or "assault rifles". "Assault weapons" is a specific legal term that includes many handguns and shotguns, including most magazines used by police in their handguns. "Assault rifles" is a specific technical term that excludes nearly all AR and AK variants in the United States.  "Assault style" is vague enough to include the rifle used in the Orlando shooting.

If we have discovered anything about attitudes toward the Second Amendment and public ownership of firearms, it is that there is an enormous gulf between rural and small town America and urban America. Yet, the sample was deliberately and heavily weighted toward large, urban police  and sheriff's departments, ignoring officers in small town and rural departments. From
The main survey is an online poll of a nationally representative sample of 7,917 officers working in 54 police and sheriff’s departments with 100 or more sworn officers. (Some 63% of all sworn officers work in departments of this size.)
The first sentence in the quote above is not true. The survey is *not* a nationally representative sample. The survey ignored rural and small town America, where about 37% of American police officers(pdf) live and work. It heavily weighted the poll toward large urban departments where about 25% of American police officers live. Included in the poll, but given less representation, were urban police officers in cities of 100,000 to 500,000.

The sample was taken from the largest 5% of police and sheriff's departments. Of approximately 15,400 departments, half have less than 10 officers.

The departments sampled averaged over 1,000 officers per department.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (pdf 2013 data), there are only 49 departments in the entire United States that have more than 1,000 sworn officers. 

It is easy to understand why small departments were not sampled. It is simply harder to do. Instead of obtaining cooperation with one police chief, cooperation with 20 is required.  This selection bias skews the sample significantly.

It is almost certain the percentage of police with positive attitudes toward the Second Amendment would have been higher if rural and small town America officers had been included in the sample.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Link to Gun Watch


Anonymous said...

Pollsters have long sampled urban environments, leaving out rural environments, trying to skew the polls to their predetermined outcomes. The reality is that the overall public, even when polling is exterminating rural America, doesn't reflect the politics that the progressive lefty gun grabbers wish it would.

We are gonna keep our guns, and we are gonna keep our gun rights too. As for Police, well it is SHAMEFUL that a full 25% of them think their job is something other than PROTECTING and DEFENDING the Constitution. I guess they missed that portion of their job descriptions and OATHs.

Anonymous said...

The trouble with polls is the people that run them usually have their own agenda. there are many ways to skew a poll to achieve their goals. they rarely take on settled issues and attempt to guide public opinion. If you want a truly honest poll taker wish in one hand and crap in the other and see which one fills up first. Your hand is going to get buried before you find one. It is a well known fact that different parts of the country are biased to one side or the other on many issues. different kinds of groups of people have their agendas. Democrats/communists for instance or the so called moderates and liberals do not comprehend self reliance of individualism, they want a nanny state. a nanny state is not any form of freedom to pursue life, liberty and individual happiness. My life is mine I do not need any one to run my life for me. My family is my family. any one interfering with my rights to raise my children as I see fit, sticking their nose into my business is going to get that nose broken, or worse. we are supposed to have limited government not all inclusive government. government can keep its hand out of my pocket and its nose out of my business. I pay my taxes for the right to be left alone. I could care less what someone else likes or dislikes. what I do that does not bother any one else is what I expect of others. they do not bother me and I do not bother them. I do not need any one's permission to live my life. those that choose to interfere will pay the price. When I choose to carry it is my business, if they choose not to carry that is there business. cops have no more right to fear people who carry than the people have to fear cops that carry. when a cop pulls his gun for no reason or places his hand on his gun that is criminal intimidation.

Anonymous said...

Walk into a police station holding a gun at your side see who gets exited first. cops have no right to be holding their gun when approaching you. A badge is a license to kill and they get away with it. cops carry their guns in a ridiculous position. If they draw on you for no valid reason it is time to find out who is the better shot. They respect my right and I will respect their right.