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A Gallup poll conducted in mid-October found that an impressive 63% of respondents believe having a gun in the home makes its occupants safer, as compared to 30% who believe the opposite. The belief that a defended home is safer than a defenseless one is distributed through every demographic group identified by the poll, except Democrats. The majority of men, women, whites, "non-whites," people from the East, West, Midwest, and South of the country, Republicans, and independents all share this belief. Democrats do not, but the margin (41% to 53%) is smaller than the split in any of the "pro-gun" demographics.
Also remarkable is how dramatic (but also sustained) the rise in the belief in the efficacy of armed home defense has been. Since 2000, the numbers have risen very nearly linearly from 35% believing an armed household is safer, and 51% believing the opposite, to today's 63%-30% figures mentioned above.
This, of course, is a source of great consternation among those who prefer for as few American homes as possible be defended with firearms. Washington Post writer Aaron Blake does find one source of solace--the poll's additional finding of a steadily decreasing rate of firearms ownership:
JPFO contributor David Codrea rains on Blake's parade, and points out how suspect statistics are that depend on gun owners willingly sharing information about their security arrangements with strangers calling on the phone. Additionally, tracking the rate of firearm ownership, without regard for the total number of gun owning households, paints only a part of the picture--and not necessarily the most instructive part. To that, as David points out, one must add the consideration that the rate is dragged down by the population being artificially inflated by ineffective and unenforced immigration laws.
Another problem is the wild year-to-year variance in the reported gun ownership levels. If the polling were remotely trustworthy, the numbers wouldn't oscillate like a seismic plot during a major quake.
Another unhappy with the Gallup poll is Mike "the Gun Guy" Weisser, who, his ownership of a gun shop and his self-applied nickname notwithstanding, is one of the Huffington Post's most prolific anti-gun writers. From questioning the wisdom of "giving" the right to carry firearms to "civilians," to calling for giving physicians the power to have their patients forcibly disarmed by the government, he claims to represent the "middle ground" in the gun rights/"gun control" debate. The "middle ground," apparently, right between ultra-restrictive California/Massachusetts/New York/Connecticut-style "gun control," and an all out, absolute ban on private gun ownership.
About the Gallup poll, he sadly reports that "the NRA seems to be making the winning argument" with regard to the relative safety merits of a defended home versus an undefended one, while he cannot understand how anyone could question the notion that an armed household puts its occupants in danger:
There is clearly rather a lot that he fails to understand, including, for example, the fact that one very significant purpose of guns is not to "kill someone," but to defend someone's (or some many's) life and liberty.
Weisser complains about gun rights advocates prevailing on Congress to cut off taxpayer-provided federal funding for anti-gun advocacy disguised as "science," without regard for the fact that those pushing the "research" hardly even bothered to hide that it was actually agenda-driven anti-gun advocacy. He sorta acknowledges that some studies have come to very different conclusions--conclusions, indeed, that are directly opposite those being pushed by Kellerman, Hemenway, etc., but has an easy dismissal for those studies: "In 2011 David Hemenway published a review of the literature on this argument (through 2007) and found that the published studies confirming the idea that more guns equals more violence outpaced the published studies that argued the reverse by something like 20 to 1." In other words, since Bloomberg and the Joyce Foundation have bought a boatload of "research," owning guns must be horribly dangerous.
The right to own guns is in no way predicated on how popular it is, nor even on how desirable the outcome is. Still, if more and more Americans are realizing that they, and only they, are responsible for their families' security, and know that the best way to provide that security is to have an effective means of stopping those who would do them harm, this is very good news indeed.
A former paratrooper, Kurt Hofmann was paralyzed in a car accident in 2002. The helplessness inherent to confinement to a wheelchair prompted him to explore armed self-defense, only to discover that Illinois denies that right, inspiring him to become active in gun rights advocacy. He also writes the St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner column. Kurt Hofmann Archive.