Almost to a man, police officers think gun owners are dangerous. Cops strongly believe the best way to reduce crime is to ban “assault weapons,” high capacity magazines and small, concealable handguns. They also believe that the best way to solve crimes is to establish a comprehensive, national database of firearms and gun sales.
Or at least, that’s what anti-gun politicians and the media would like you to believe.
It wasn’t that long ago that most people assumed police officers supported the rights of gun owners to keep, carry and use firearms for self defense. Yet, it seems that in modern days the popular belief is most cops would prefer a disarmed populace.
In my experience from years of law enforcement, police officers almost always support the rights of gun owners to keep and use firearms for self-defense. The problem is that most cops are never heard. With rare exception, the media only talks to police chiefs, sheriffs and other designated command staff members. I’ve never had a member of the media walk up to me and ask, “Hey, do you think citizens should be able to own firearms?”
Ever see that group of cops standing behind the president or some other gun-banning politician? Typically what you are seeing is a group of handpicked, political appointees, not rank and file police officers. However, it creates the illusion that everyone wearing the uniform supports whatever dubious liniment the politician is pedaling.
What is the truth? Cops trust citizens with guns. In a recent PoliceOne.com survey of more than 15,000 active duty and retired law enforcement officers, more than 90 percent surveyed believe that citizens should be able to carry concealed firearms “…without question and without further restrictions.” That’s not a typo: better than nine out of ten cops believe citizens should be able to carry concealed guns “without question.”
When asked what would be most likely to help prevent “large scale shootings in public,” the most popular response was “more permissive concealed carry policies for civilians.” Additionally, when asked what impact a legally armed citizen could have made at the spree killings in Aurora, Colo., and Newton, Conn., 80 percnet of officers responded that “casualties would likely have been reduced.”
Other key statistics:
70 percent of officers are opposed to a national database of firearm sales.
- Nearly 96 percent of officers do not believe magazine capacity restrictions will reduce violent crime.
- Almost 80 percent believe that eliminating private transfers of firearms will not reduce violent crime.
- More than 80 percent of officers believe that an “assault weapon” ban will have no effect, or will actually worsen, violent crime.
- Similarly, more than 85 percent believe President Obama’s proposed gun control legislation would have either no effect, or will worsen the safety of police officers.
- When asked their opinion on what is the biggest cause of gun violence in the United States, only 4.4 percent of officers responded that guns are “too prevalent and easy to obtain.”
Based on this survey, it is easy to see that the vast majority of law enforcement officers support the public’s rights to own and use firearms. Just like any other population segment there are exceptions, but by and large officers support the rights of citizens to own, carry and use firearms for self-defense.
Police officers may be one of the largest pro-gun blocks of voters in the United States. May I suggest that strengthening the bonds between the gun owner and law enforcement communities would be a way to both reduce negative incidents between the groups and improve our ability to defend our rights from new legislation?