Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What do police officers think about gun control?

You should give the site traffic for this unique effort to understand the opinions of law enforcement in a statistically significant way.  I'll quote a bit, then go look at all the responses.

PoliceOne's Gun Control Survey: 11 key lessons from officers' perspectives
Never before has such a comprehensive survey of law enforcement officers’ opinions on gun control, gun violence, and gun rights been conducted

More than 15,000 verified law enforcement professionals took part in the survey, which aimed to bring together the thoughts and opinions of the only professional group devoted to limiting and defeating gun violence as part of their sworn responsibility.

Totaling just shy of 30 questions, the survey allowed officers across the United States to share their perspectives on issues spanning from gun control and gun violence to gun rights.

Top Line Takeaways
Breaking down the results, it's important to note that 70 percent of respondents are field-level law enforcers — those who are face-to-face in the fight against violent crime on a daily basis — not office-bound, non-sworn administrators or perpetually-campaigning

Answers you'll find here are:

1.) Virtually all respondents (95 percent) say that a federal ban on manufacture and sale of ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds would not reduce violent crime.

2.) The majority of respondents — 71 percent — say a federal ban on the manufacture and sale of some semi-automatics would have no effect on reducing violent crime. However, more than 20 percent say any ban would actually have a negative effect on reducing violent crime.

3.) About 85 percent of officers say the passage of the White House’s currently proposed legislation would have a zero or negative effect on their safety...

4.) Seventy percent of respondents say they have a favorable or very favorable opinion of some law enforcement leaders’ public statements that they would not enforce more restrictive gun laws in their jurisdictions. Similarly, more than 61 percent said they would refuse to enforce such laws if they themselves were Chief or Sheriff.

5.) More than 28 percent of officers say having more permissive concealed carry policies for civilians would help most in preventing large scale shootings in public, followed by more aggressive institutionalization for mentally ill persons (about 19 percent)...

6.) The overwhelming majority (almost 90 percent) of officers believe that casualties would be decreased if armed citizens were present at the onset of an active-shooter incident.
Go see the rest!  The article is linked above or here.

A quick note on number 5 is that most jurisdictions now do have very permissive concealed carry policies.  Only a few states and cities, like California, Chicago and DC lag behind the national trend that has been shown to at the very least do no harm, but very likely make people safer.

Why do active police officers' opinions matter?  They're the ones who see how policy works or doesn't work on the streets every day.  They can tell what responses stop crime.  They're most familiar with investigations of things like mass casualty shootings.  In short, they're in position to answer these questions most knowledgeably. 

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