Questionable Ipsos/Reuters Poll About Gun Rights And Regulations

Questions abound concerning an Ipsos poll on gun rights and regulations that was recently conducted for Thomson Reuters. From the Ipsos press release this morning:

Washington, DC – These are findings from an Ipsos poll conducted for Thomson Reuters from April 9th-12th, 2012 about gun rules and regulations.

• The NRA is a reasonably popular organization. Unsurprisingly, favorability towards the NRA is stronger among Republicans but a majority of Democrats have a favorable attitude towards the organization.
• As comparison points, we also asked about the NAACP, ACLU and AARP. AARP has the strongest favorability rates of the four organizations. Favorability towards the ACLU and NAACP are both strongly influenced by partisan ID.
• Americans are broadly supportive of restrictions or regulations on gun ownership.
• Only 6% say there should be no or very few restrictions on gun ownership.
• 62% oppose allowing people to bring a firearm into a church, workplace or retail establishment.
• 91% support background checks for gun purchasers.
• 69% support limiting the number of guns a person could purchase in a given time frame.
• 74% support laws limiting the sale of automatic weapons.
• However, Americans are also broadly supportive of a number of pro-gun laws including:
• Majorities support concealed carry laws and allowing the use of deadly force, both in homes and public places.
• Framing this discussion, Americans remain concerned with crime and are concerned about what is to be done about it.
• Almost half of Americans think crime rates are going up in their communities.
• Significant majorities do not think police can stop all crime from happening
• As a consequence, large majorities believe regular people need to step up to prevent crimes (leading to the Trayvon Martin incident).

I’m surprised the poll asked about automatic weapons (i.e. machine guns, according to actual survey question) as opposed to semi-automatic firearms. Machine guns are already highly restricted for law-abiding citizens. I wrote back on June 6, 2011:

According to the well-known firearms resource website GunCite.com, which focuses on a “comprehensive presentation of gun control and Second Amendment issues; analysis of firearms statistics, research, and gun control policies”:

It has been unlawful since 1934 (The National Firearms Act) for civilians to own machine guns without special permission from the U.S. Treasury Department . Machine guns are subject to a $200 tax every time their ownership changes from one federally registered owner to another, and each new weapon is subject to a manufacturing tax when it is made, and it must be registered with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in its National Firearms Registry.

To become a registered owner, a complete FBI background investigation is conducted, checking for any criminal history or tendencies toward violence, and an application must be submitted to the ATF including two sets of fingerprints, a recent photo, a sworn affidavit that transfer of the NFA firearm is of “reasonable necessity,” and that sale to and possession of the weapon by the applicant “would be consistent with public safety.” The application form also requires the signature of a chief law enforcement officer with jurisdiction in the applicant’s residence.

Since the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act of May 19, 1986, ownership of newly manufactured machine guns has been prohibited to civilians. Machine guns which were manufactured prior to the Act’s passage are regulated under the National Firearms Act, but those manufactured after the ban cannot ordinarily be sold to or owned by civilians.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

GunCite also adds:

Twenty-five states have no further restrictions on civilian ownership of machine guns (some require registration with the state) than what is required by federal law. Other states have either placed further restrictions or outlawed operable machine guns to civilians entirely.

As existing laws mean automatic firearms are already highly-regulated for law-abiding citizens, and it’s semi-automatic guns (one trigger pull, one shot only) that are presently under attack by gun “control” supporters, in a poll about gun rights/regulation one would reasonably expect a question about limiting firearm sales to be about semi-automatics rather than machine guns.

In addition, note the following excerpt from the press release:

As a consequence, large majorities believe regular people need to step up to prevent crimes (leading to the Trayvon Martin incident)

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Now, the original poll question:

Regular people need to step up to help prevent crime from happening

So where did “(leading to the Trayvon Martin incident)” come from?

Scratching my head about this poll.

You can read the entire press release and access the survey data on the Ipsos website here.

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Christopher E. Hill, Editor
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