The Coastal Post - September, 1997

Police Views On Gun Issues

BY FIELDING GREAVES

A popular myth fostered by some politicians and much of the media is that the police endorse their call for more stringent gun laws. They like to quote statements of politically-appointed, tame police chiefs to support their anti-gun ideology. Uniformly those chiefs are responding to the views of their masters, their political bosses, without bothering to poll their own rank and file peace officers. The worst offender in this regard is the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), several regional chapters of which recently publicly disavowed positions of FOP's national headquarters.

To see real police views on gun laws, consider a couple of other organizations that did poll their members:

1993 Poll-Southern States Police Benevolent Association

The Southern States Police Benevolent Association became the nation's first major law enforcement group to conduct a professional, scientific survey of its membership. The 1993 poll of nearly 11,000 rank-and-file peace officers by the SSPBA found these results, summarized from the nearly 100-page analysis of the survey, including cross-tabulations, charts and graphs:

Only 1.1% listed firearms as the most pressing cause of violent crime, compared to

breakdown of the criminal justice system (3.8%)

unemployment (4.3%)

early release/lack of punishment (10.2%)

decline of family values (10.6%) and

drugs (45%)

63.6% agreed the Federal Government should act to reduce violence on TV.

65.3% agreed that stricter gun control laws would be the least effective way to reduce violent crime.

70.9% said stricter handgun laws would not reduce the overall number of violent crimes.

82.3% supported an instant background check at the gun shop for handgun purchases.

86.5% agreed that a waiting period to purchase handguns affects only law-abiding citizens, and that criminals will still be able to obtain handguns illegally whenever they want to.

89.5% agreed that the entire criminal justice system needs major reform.

90.1% agreed that the U.S. Constitution guarantees every law-abiding citizen the right to own a gun.

95.8% opposed banning all guns for persons other than the police or military.

96.4% agreed that people have the right to own a gun for self-protection.

By three to one they favored an instant check over a waiting period for gun purchases.

1997 Poll-San Diego Police Officers Association

The San Diego Police Officers Association, in the May, 1997 issue of its magazine The Informant, reported the following results of a gun control survey of its law enforcement officers:

82.1% of respondents do NOT favor an assault weapons ban.

82.2% do NOT support a limit to magazine capacity.

84.9% SUPPORT law-abiding citizens' right to carry a concealed firearm.

87.1% believe gun ownership by private citizens INCREASES public safety.

92.1% SUPPORT the instant background check.

92.1% said more gun laws will NOT decrease violent crime.

95.6% believe criminal use of a gun should result in mandatory sentences with no plea bargaining.

98.5% do NOT support gun buy-back programs.

99.2% believe in streamlining the criminal justice system.

99.2% believe in the death penalty.

The results of these two surveys, although four years apart, demonstrate that rank-and-file police continue to agree with the positions long advocated by the NRA. The surveys validate what NRA and law-abiding gun owners have known for years-that rank-and-file street cops overwhelmingly reject placebo gun control laws and support the right of law-abiding Americans to own firearms for personal protection.

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