Police Gun Control Survey: Cops support simple, straightforward solutions

In reviewing the survey data, it seems that America’s law enforcers put little faith in the effectiveness of proposed gun-control legislation


Gun Survey 2013

Over the years I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to develop some important and successful police programs. In developing those programs, I’ve used a top-secret technique I will now reveal to you: I ask street cops their opinions and then LISTEN to what they tell me.

Police officers are both opinionated and outspoken. Cops focus on what works — simple, straightforward solutions appeal to them.

So it is with great interest I digest the statistics of the PoliceOne survey of those who are first to respond to the daily death and destruction of gun violence.

By the Numbers...
The first impression I take from the numbers is the surprising degree of uniformity. The survey design allows us to break down the opinions by several demographic factors: Department size, active versus retired officers, and rank structure. The opinions are amazingly uniform across the demographic spectrum.

The numbers which jump off the page and most dramatically catch my attention are those related to the enforcement of any new gun-control statutes. In reviewing the survey data, it seems that America’s law enforcers put little faith in the effectiveness of proposed gun-control legislation — particularly the so-called “assault weapon” ban coupled with a ban on high-capacity magazines.

Apparently, U.S. police officers do not fear fast-shooting weapons any more than they fear firearms in general.

When asked their opinion of the statements of police officials who say they will refuse to enforce more restrictive gun control laws, 71 percent judge the refusals to be favorable or very favorable. Only seven percent of the responding officers view the recalcitrant Chiefs/Sheriffs’ statements as “very unfavorable.”

Taking the enforcement of restrictive gun laws a step further, 62 percent say if they were a Chief or Sheriff they would NOT enforce the new laws. This question garnered an “unsure” answer of 20 percent, but a shade fewer than 18 percent said they would enforce such statutes.

Wow.

The other standout takeaway, cited both by Ron Avery and Dan Marcou, is our overwhelming belief that the best defense against gun crime and mass shootings is an armed citizenry. A whopping 91 percent of those polled support concealed carry by honest/screened citizens.

When asked how important armed citizens are in reducing the overall crime rate — on a scale of one to five (with one being low and five being high) — 54 percent rate the effectiveness of citizens at a “5.” And more than 86 percent of the respondents feel a legally armed citizen at the Newtown or Aurora incidents could have reduced or eliminated casualties.

It is clear from this important measure of police opinion that American police officers strongly support concealed carry by citizens and think it is the single-most-important factor in reducing violent crime. They also think concealed carry by citizens is probably the most important factor in reducing the death toll posed by active shooters.

By Lake Michigan...
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg gets a lot of national attention for his stance on gun-control.

I live in Illinois — the last remaining statewide gun-free zone — so I tend to think that I stand at ground zero of the gun-control debate. Chicago is currently experiencing both extreme gun violence and “wilding” street gangs attacking at will on its most “bucks up” tourist mecca, the Magnificent Mile.

Yet, Chicago politicians are predicting deadly wild-west shootouts should concealed carry become legal in Illinois’ largest metropolis.

Facing a mandate from the 7th U.S. Court of Appeals, Illinois will get some form of concealed carry in two months.

We will get to see if armed citizens will have an effect on Chicago’s violent crime rate. Soon we will know if Lakeshore Drive will rival the streets of Tombstone. Judging by their votes on the PoliceOne gun policy survey, America’s police officers are predicting a safer Chicago.

About the author

Dick Fairburn has more than 30 years of law enforcement experience in both Illinois and Wyoming, working patrol, investigations and administrative assignments. Dick has also served as a Criminal Intelligence Analyst and as the Section Chief of a major academy's Firearms Training Unit and Critical Incident training program. He has a B.S. in Law Enforcement Administration from Western Illinois University and was the Valedictorian of his recruit class at the Illinois State Police Academy. He has published more than 100 feature articles and two books: Police Rifles and Building a Better Gunfighter.

Contact Richard Fairburn

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