Interesting Poll Regarding Concelaed Carry

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

A recent Zogby Poll says that:

An overwhelming majority of Americans (83 percent) support concealed-carry laws, while only 11 percent oppose them. A majority of Independent voters (86 percent), Democrats (80 percent), young voters age 18-29 (83 percent), Hispanic voters (80 percent), and those who voted for President Obama (80 percent) support the right to carry a firearm.


I was fairly surprised. While I believe that most people are supportive of some type of lawful carry, I would have guessed that number be around 50-60%. I share Eugene Volokh's questions regarding the way the question was asked:

Currently, 39 states have laws that allow residents to carry firearms to protect themselves, only if they pass a background check and pay a fee to cover administrative costs. Most of those states also require applicants to have firearms safety training. Do you support or oppose this law?

12 comments:

B Mac 8:32 AM  

In a way, I'm not too surprised. I think concealed weapon laws are generally pretty popular. However, like you pointed out, the poll itself may be a bit skewed by the way they asked the question.

I would imagine that something more neutral (such as "do you support laws that allow individuals to carry concealed firearms in public"), or something that had given the cons as well as the pros, would have received a smaller majority.

steves 8:48 AM  

I think Volokh makes a similar point and, from my point of view, it is somewhat sad that people are ok with restrictions on fundamental rights. On the other had, I have seen similar results when people are asked about other things, like free speech, search and seizure, and due process.

B Mac 10:56 AM  

it is somewhat sad that people are ok with restrictions on fundamental rights

That's always the case. Someone made the point the other day in an editorial that if Congress really supports the 2nd amendment, why aren't guns allowed in the Capitol?

I can't think of a fundamental right we don't restrict (other than maybe the right to a jury trial). You can't shout fire in a crowded theater. You can't print libelous materials. Felon's can't vote in some states. And you can't carry a loaded firearm into a bar and start playing William Tell with the patrons.

The problem is that because we make common-sense exceptions, we lose the ease of application that comes with absolute rights or absolute prohibitions. We have to draw lines. But as a wise man (Justice Jackson?) once reminded us, the Constitution is not a suicide pact.

steves 11:33 AM  

I have never made an absolutist argument. I, and the FF's, think that there are allowable restrictions to any fundamental right. My problem comes from the way that some interpret the 2nd in that there is no right, or it is a right that is so watered down that it is rendered meaningless and any restriction will be accepted.

Someone made the point the other day in an editorial that if Congress really supports the 2nd amendment, why aren't guns allowed in the Capitol?

If we are talking about the same editorial, that was one of the more poorly written, hyperbole laden ones I have seen in a while. I think that law abiding people should be able to carry almost anywhere, but until that happens, being able to carry in Congress is not my highest priority.

You can't shout fire in a crowded theater.

You can and I can't think of any jurisdiction where this is specifically against the law. You can, however, be prosecuted if your shouting results in the death, injury, or some other kind of negative, of a person that was in the theater.

But as a wise man (Justice Jackson?) once reminded us, the Constitution is not a suicide pact.

No, I agree it isn't, but it shouldn't be something that can be ingnored when it is inconvienient, such as during war time or declaring a war on drugs, crime or terrorism. Like you said, where do we draw the line? Unfortunately, I think the gov't tends to go too far in many cases.

Another wise man, Ben Franklin, said:

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

B Mac 11:44 AM  

I think we're making the same point. But I do love that Franklin quote.

Smitty 12:14 PM  

It seems to me that the only "fundy" right that we water down to nonexistence is the 2nd.

The question asked in the poll wouldn't be so skewed if they got rid of the phrase "for protection."

2 cents.

Mr Furious 1:30 PM  

I'm shocked and I think that poll is full of shit. They didn't talk to me or anyone I've ever known...or anyone like them.

Mr Furious 1:35 PM  

Reading the post more carefully and the link to Volokh, I think that number is seriously skewed.

Even then, I think people support it more as a theory/right, than in practice.

If I did a poll and asked "Do you support the fact that the guy next to you on the bus is legally packing heat?" that number would probably flip to 83% the other way.

steves 2:02 PM  

B Mac, I think you are correct.

Smitty, I think the second has been most watered down, but the 4th is getting up there, which is pretty scary.

Mr. F, I try not to read too much into polling data. Like you suggest, you can get all sorts of answers, depending on how you phrase the question.

Benjamin Disraeli said that there were three kinds of lies: "lies, damned lies, and statistics." I think you could replace statistics with polls and this would still apply.

From what I can tell, I think people have become slightly more comfortable with concealed carry. The dire predictions of "blood in the streets" and "wild west shootouts" never came true. Granholm publicly opposed concealed carry and has since admitted she was wrong. She has also signed every piece of pro-gun legislation that has crossed her desk.

steves 2:04 PM  

"Do you support the fact that the guy next to you on the bus is legally packing heat?"

Packing heat...1940's film noir called, they want you back.

;)

Mr Furious 12:05 AM  

So was this poll conducted before or after the guy walked into the aerobics class and gunned a bunch of women down?

Marty 5:23 PM  

getting a concealed carry license is easier now then it was even 2 years ago! Now Illinois is the only state that does not allow her citizens to carry concealed weapons.

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