“At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst.” —Aristotle
Doug Wyllie, Editor-in-Chief at Police One.com conducted a survey of More than 15,000 verified law enforcement professionals. The scope and purpose of this survey was aimed at bringing together the thoughts and opinions of the only professional group devoted to limiting and defeating gun violence as part of their sworn responsibility. Wyllie says, “It’s important to note that 70 percent of respondents are field–level law enforcers — those who are face-to-face in the fight against violent crime on a daily basis — not office-bound, non-sworn administrators or perpetually-campaigning elected officials.
Wylie’s comprehensive 30 question survey afforded police officers across the Nation to share their perspectives on issues surrounding the gun control debate, gun violence and citizen’s gun rights. This survey is both startling and refreshing. But do note, we are not likely to see this reported in the lame stream media.
PoliceOne’s Gun Control Survey: 11 key lessons from officers’ perspectives
Virtually all respondents (95 percent) say that a federal ban on manufacture and sale of ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds would not reduce violent crime. The majority of respondents — 71 percent — say a federal ban on the manufacture and sale of some semi-automatics would have no effect on reducing violent crime. However, more than 20 percent say any ban would actually have a negative effect on reducing violent crime. Just over 7 percent took the opposite stance, saying they believe a ban would have a moderate to significant effect. About 85 percent of officers say the passage of the White House’s currently proposed legislation would have a zero or negative effect on their safety, with just over 10 percent saying it would have a moderate or significantly positive effect.
Seventy percent of respondents say they have a favorable or very favorable opinion of some law enforcement leaders’ public statements that they would not enforce more restrictive gun laws in their jurisdictions. Similarly, more than 61 percent said they would refuse to enforce such laws if they themselves were Chief or Sheriff.
The overwhelming majority (almost 90 percent) of officers believe that casualties would be decreased if armed citizens were present at the onset of an active-shooter incident. More than 28 percent of officers say having more permissive concealed carry policies for civilians would help most in preventing large scale shootings in public, followed by more aggressive institutionalization for mentally ill persons (about 19 percent) and more armed guards/paid security personnel (about 15 percent).
More than half of respondents feel that increased punishment for obviously illegal gun sales could have a positive impact on reducing gun violence while more than 81 percent of respondents say that gun-buyback programs are ineffective in reducing gun violence.
When asked whether citizens should be required to complete a safety training class before being allowed to buy a gun, about 43 percent of officers say it should not be required. About 42 percent say it should be required for all weapons, with the remainder favoring training classes for certain weapons. More than 80 percent of respondents support arming school teachers and administrators who willingly volunteer to train with firearms and carry one in the course of the job.
While some officers say gun violence in the United States stems from violent movies and video games (14 percent), early release and short sentencing for violent offenders (14 percent) and poor identification/treatments of mentally-ill individuals (10 percent), the majority (38 percent) blame a decline in parenting and family values.
Wyllie makes a compelling argument that the majority of officers who participated in the poll clearly oppose the gun control schemes in the current public debate. Officers responding to this survey assert through its’ results that current gun control measures will negatively affect their ability to fight violent criminals.
Police officers overwhelmingly favor an armed citizenry, contrary to what the main stream media projects. Clearly, the front line police officer has no issue with guns in the hands of responsible people, and are skeptical of any greater restrictions placed on gun purchases, ownership, or accessibility.
Wyllie concludes, “The officers patrolling America’s streets have a deeply-vested interest — and perhaps the most relevant interest — in making sure that decisions related to controlling, monitoring, restricting, as well as supporting and/or prohibiting an armed populace are wise and effective. With this survey, their voices have been heard.”