There is a considerable difference of opinion between police officers and their high-level supervisors on the topic of gun control. A survey of 15,000 cops by PoliceOne.com, an online resource for law-enforcement officers, reveals strong disagreement with just about every aspect of gun control orthodoxy.
Among the more significant findings, 99 percent of police officers favored policies other than an “assault weapons” ban to prevent mass shootings; 96 percent said banning magazines that hold over 10 rounds would not reduce violent crime (and 68 percent said such a ban would negatively affect them personally); 70 percent opposed creating a national registry of legal gun sales; and over 60 percent said President Obama’s gun control proposals would not improve the safety of police officers. In fact, digging into the poll internals, only about 12 percent thought there would be any benefits to officer safety from the President’s proposals, while 24.6 percent thought they would have a negative impact on officer safety.
What measures would these police officers prefer? They’re strongly in favor of increased mandatory sentencing, without plea bargains, for those who use guns in the commission of a crime. 91 percent of the officers responding to the poll supported this idea.
They’re also great believers in the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms. 91 percent of the officers polled supported Right to Carry laws, 76 percent said armed citizens were important to reducing crime, and 76 percent favored allowing trained and qualified teachers to carry guns for the protection of themselves and their students.
On the topic of preventing mass shootings, the ideas drawing the most support were more permissive concealed-carry permits for civilians (29 percent), more aggressive institutionalization of mentally ill persons (20 percent), and improved background screening to determine the mental fitness of gun buyers (14 percent.)
One surprising result from the poll was the officers’ response to the question, “Should citizens be required to complete a safety training class before being allowed to buy a gun?” Only 42 percent said “Yes” for all weapons, while another 14 percent said “Yes, but only for certain weapons.”
The majority of the poll respondents were field officers, sergeants, lieutenants, and detectives, although some higher-ranking supervisors also responded.