SAN FRANCISCO – PoliceOne.com, the leading online resource for law enforcement, today released findings from a national survey of police professionals that provide insight into the opinions of American law enforcement regarding gun control policies and the root causes of and potential solutions to gun crime in the United States.
The survey, which was conducted in early March 2013, received 15,000 responses from law enforcement professionals. It found that the overall attitude of law enforcement is strongly anti-gun legislation and pro-gun rights, with the belief that an armed citizenry is effective in stopping crime. Response percentages varied only slightly when analyzed by rank and department size. Among the results:
- 86 percent feel the currently proposed legislation would have no effect or a negative effect on improving officer safety
- Similarly, 92 percent feel that banning semi-automatic firearms, or “assault weapons,” would have no effect or a negative effect on reducing violent crime
- Demonstrating the opinion that the best way to combat gun crime is through harsher punishment, 91 percent said the use of a firearm while perpetrating a crime should lead to a stiff, mandatory sentence with no plea bargains. Likewise, 59 percent believe increasing punishment severity for unlicensed dealers would reduce crime
- Respondents were more split on background checks, with 31 percent agreeing that mental health background checks in all gun sales would help reduce mass shootings, while 45 percent disagreed
- 71 percent support law enforcement leaders who have publicly refused to enforce more restrictive gun laws within their jurisdictions
- 82 percent believe gun buyback or turn-in programs are ineffective in reducing the level of gun violence
- 91 percent support the concealed carry of firearms by civilians who have not been convicted of a felony and/or have not been deemed psychologically incapable
- Likewise, 80 percent feel that legally-armed citizens would likely have reduced the number of casualties in recent mass shooting incidents
- 38 percent believe the biggest cause of gun violence in the United States is the “decline in parenting and family values”. This was trailed by “overly lax parole and short sentencing standards” at 15 percent and “pop culture influence” (eg. violent movies and video games) at 14 percent
The survey was promoted by PoliceOne exclusively to its 400,000 registered members, comprised of individually-verified law enforcement professionals. Only current, former or retired law enforcement personnel were eligible to participate in the survey.
Respondents comprised a variety of ranks from departments of all sizes, with the majority representing departments of greater than 500 officers. Of those who took the survey, 80 percent were current law enforcement officers and 20 percent were former/retired law enforcement.
“This survey captures the perspective of an audience that has an intimate professional connection to gun policies in our country, yet is rarely heard from as a group in discussions on the issue,” said Alex Ford, CEO of the Praetorian Group, PoliceOne’s parent company. “Our standing as the leading online community in the law enforcement market enabled us to gather what we feel is the most meaningful sampling of police attitudes about gun control ever compiled. There is clearly a wide range of opinions regarding this issue nationwide and we believe it’s important for our audience’s voice to be heard.”
The full survey results can be viewed at www.policeone.com/police-gun-survey.
About the Survey
PoliceOne’s Gun Policy & Law Enforcement survey was conducted online on PoliceOne.com between March 4 and March 13, 2013. The survey was composed and compiled by PoliceOne staff along with staff from the Praetorian Group, PoliceOne’s parent company. It received more than 15,000 responses from adults who reside in the U.S. and who are either current or former/retired Law Enforcement, as verified by a qualifying question at the beginning of the survey. The survey sample size was broadly distributed by geography and rank in proportion to the U.S. law enforcement community at large. Additionally, survey promotion was limited to PoliceOne’s audience of verified law enforcement professionals, and conducted via exposure both on PoliceOne.com as well as through email newsletters and a full-membership email promotion. A longer description of the survey methodology can be found at www.policeone.com/police-gun-survey-methodology.