Our rights won't be set aside for flawed or outdated polls

Our rights won't be set aside for flawed or outdated polls
AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

There’s a segment of the population who think public opinion should decide everything. Or, at least, anything they agree with the polls on.

Among those are the gun control crowd, of course, but only to a point.

You see, they love using old or flawed polls whenever the get one that says what they want, even if it means ignoring a mountain of other polls.

Then they write stuff at Newsweek using them.

More than 40,000 Americans have died from gun violence in the last year. In March, as the season switched to spring, there were at least nine mass shooting events across the country.

All the while, a bill that could save countless lives—and that has the support of up to 97 percent of the American public—languishes in Congress.

The Bipartisan Background Checks Act (H.R. 8), which passed in the House a year ago, would expand federal background checks to unlicensed dealers (such as on the internet marketplace and gun shows) and establish consistent regulations across the country. The fact that this common-sense law hasn’t even gotten a vote in the Senate in a full year proves that it’s time for a different approach. If we want to make progress toward solving at least one facet of America’s enduring gun violence problem, it’s time to bring new voices into the fold: gun owners themselves.

The problem with the poll cited? It’s from 2018.

Since then, we’ve had numerous other polls telling us that most Americans don’t want new gun control laws.

When the cited poll was conducted, people were emotional after the horrors of Parkland. They were demanding action and so they were willing to side with just about any bit of gun control being pushed.

Then things settled down. Then the pandemic hit and people came to realize it wasn’t that easy to find a gun to buy without a background check. Even buying on the internet wasn’t what they’d been told.

So, they changed their opinions accordingly. A four-year-old poll, however, doesn’t accurately reflect what people are thinking now.

But the author continues:

As a veteran of four tours in the Marine infantry in Iraq, I know a lot about carrying guns. I’ve enjoyed shooting since leaving the Marines, and many of my close friends are law-abiding gun owners. I hear from them every day. Republicans claim to represent them, and my own party often hesitates to involve them.

Why place our focus on gun owners? They are not only critical stakeholders in this legislation, but they’re already intimately familiar with the background check process. And most importantly, they are the missing piece to the gun reform puzzle. They not only have the power to shape their peers and elected officials’ opinions; they have the power to change the trajectory of gun reform in this country.

A recently released 97Percent-Beacon Research poll of 1,000 gun owners across the country found that 86 percent of those polled said they support universal background checks, with 84 percent of Republicans and 80 percent of NRA members surveyed voicing support. While many on the right say their opposition to the bill is because of their gun-owning constituents, the data tells a different story.

Except, there are major problems with that poll. I’ve talked about it previously. Basically, the wording of the questions was very open to misinterpretation and it relied on self-reporting of gun ownership, something many gun owners aren’t likely to do, thus skewing the results significantly.

But for anti-Second Amendment types, that doesn’t matter. They’ll use the bad data to try and push the issue with every fiber of their being.

See, public opinion can sway lawmakers, so they’re hoping that old polls will be enough to sway either lawmakers or their constituents.

Yet what if the claims were accurate? Would it really matter?

It shouldn’t.

These are our rights we’re talking about here. Our rights aren’t up for debate whenever the whims of the public decide they don’t like them.

Just as I refuse to bow down over my freedom of speech or freedom of religion simply because a bunch of other people don’t like it.

Our rights are preserved in the Constitution precisely because they’re not up for discussion.

Yet that’s not going to stop anti-gun zealots from misrepresenting reality with old or flawed polls in hopes they can change people’s minds on such things.