In light of all the post-Parkland talk about an assault weapons ban, I thought I would ask the one group that would be most directly impacted by such a measure – gun owners – to share their thoughts on such a ban. So I put a little survey up and have so far collected roughly 400 responses, the survey runs another week, but I thought I would publish the early results now.
Actually, I first began with two surveys, one for gun owners and one for non-gun owners, but I deleted the non-gun owner survey because too many of the gun owners felt it incumbent upon themselves to answer both surveys, which skewed the results of the latter survey to a degree that I can’t trust the results. I’ll deal below with the reasons why many gun owners who answered the survey behaved in such a childish fashion, for the moment let’s just put it down to a generalized case of arrested mental development which, unfortunately, tends to infect a small segment of the gun-owning community, particularly those members of the community who have anointed themselves as the public defenders of 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’
Anyway, back to the survey. To make sure that the survey was getting a representative response (I pay Facebook to run ads for my survey) I ask respondents to identify the region in which they live. Here was the result:
The survey is representative for gun owners nationally, particularly because from other surveys I have conducted, the region of residence tends to be the one demographic that influences attitudes about guns more than anything else.
So how do gun owners feel about an assault weapons ban? They are against it – gee, big surprise. And they are against a ban whether or not currently-owned assault weapons have to be surrendered or not – against either option to the tune of 95 percent.
I also asked survey respondents whether they actually owned an assault rifle and 70% said they did, but this numeric reflects the fact that the survey specifically referred to an assault weapons ban, which means that AR-owners would answer the survey in greater numbers than what they represent within the gun-owning population as whole. On the other hand, nearly two-thirds of the respondents who identified themselves as owning assault riles said they used the rifle for hunting and sport shooting, with roughly 36% saying that they bought the gun for self-defense. This is an interesting finding, given the degree to which the gun industry has been promoting black guns as the latest and greatest ‘tool’ for personal defense.
Overwhelmingly, to the tune of 90% or slightly higher, gun owners did not think that assault rifles are too dangerous for civilian ownership, nor did they want magazine capacity to be limited to 10 rounds. And last, roughly nine out of ten respondents said they would not comply with a gun ban, so much for the NRA‘s endless paeans to ‘law-abiding’ gun owners.
What this survey indicates, and I will publish final results next week, is that gun owners have little enthusiasm for regulating assault rifles, but this should come as no surprise. I have never been comfortable with national polls (e.g., Pew, Gallup) which show strong support among gun owners for additional gun regulations, such as expanding background checks or otherwise inhibiting the flow and availability of guns.
On the other hand, let’s recognize that within the gun-owning population, as within any broad-based group, we will always find a hard core who are particularly eager to jump on social media to express the most stupid and infantile beliefs simply because: a) they have nothing better to do; and, b) it’s fun.
What makes an assault rifle attractive to most of its owners is the degree to which you can pretend you are mowing down all the bad guys. Take an AR onto the range and you instantly become that kid you once were before adult life intervened. And if someone threatens to make it difficult for you to recreate those happy days, why not do what children always do when someone threatens to take away their toys?
Throw a tantrum. Why not? Yelling a few curse words is almost as much fun as shooting a gun.