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83% Support for Shall-Issue Concealed Carry?

A Zogby press release reports 83% support for laws that let pretty much all law-abiding adults, at least ones age 21 and above, get licenses to carry concealed weapons. (These are generally "shall-issue" laws, because they provide that a license "shall issue," rather than just may be issued, if certain largely objective requirements for licensing are met.)

But while I support shall-issue laws, I'm pretty skeptical about the findings, because of the text of the question:

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?

The question as read over the phone obviously doesn't include the commas, so it seems to me that some listeners can easily interpret it as describing laws that limit who may carry guns — 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." The listener may well assume that these laws are enacted against a backdrop of discretionary licensing, where the police may deny licenses at will (more or less the case in California, for instance), and that the laws simply provide that such discretionary licenses may not be issued unless a background check is passed and a fee is paid.

And this is unfortunately consistent with other surveys I've seen, such as a CNN 6/4-5/08 survey that reports 48% of respondents favoring "preventing gun owners from carrying a concealed gun in public," and 52% opposing, and an ABC 4/22/07 survey that reports 42% of respondents favoring "a law requiring a nationwide ban on ... people carrying a concealed weapon (with 55% opposition). These surveys reveal at most 52%-55% support for shall-issue laws (I say at most since one can oppose a nationwide ban on concealed weapons, or even a local ban on concealed weapons, but still not support a shall-issue regime). I can't see why that would increase to 83% in the last two years; and while it's possible that highlighting the requirements of background checks, fees, and training might increase the support in some measure, I'm skeptical that the increase would be so great.

Thanks to InstaPundit for the pointer.

zippypinhead:
I can't see why that would increase to 83% in the last two years...
Actually, I would argue the question in the new Zogby poll may lead to more accurate result than a simple, binary question about banning concealed carry that fails to mention any limits, standards or licensing requirements at all. Only Vermont and Alaska have that sort of unregulated scheme, and even those states are still subject to the possession prohibitions in 18 U.S.C. ยง922(g).

The April 2007 ABC poll is especially suspect, since it was done a week after the Virginia Tech massacre, and could be interpreted as asking whether nutjobs like Cho should be stopped from carrying concealed weapons.

And even the CNN poll was done before the publicity about the D.C. v. Heller decision elevated the Second Amendment debate in many people's consciousness.

So no, I'm not terribly shocked by the results.
8.4.2009 7:13pm
ShelbyC:
It's a pretty unclear question, especially since talking about laws that allow people to do things is kinda nonsensical. Laws prevent folks from doing stuff.
8.4.2009 7:17pm
Steve:
Something like 30-35% of all Americans favor a total ban on handguns. How could 83% for concealed carry possibly be accurate?
8.4.2009 7:18pm
Angus:
Bad question. My initial read, even given the title of the post, was that it was asking if people supported laws requiring background checks and firearms safety training, not support for the concealed weapon carrying. And this is coming from someone who supports shall-issue concealed carry and would like that 80% number to be true.
8.4.2009 7:23pm
JK:
Zogby has a reputation as a pretty terrible pollster. Not really any right/left bias, just really bad.
8.4.2009 7:24pm
AnthonyJ (mail):
I must say that, without context, I have no idea what this question is asking. My first guess would be that it's asking whether those things (background check, gun safety course) should be prerequisites for gun ownership, not whether they should be automatic qualifiers.
8.4.2009 7:33pm
Oren:

Something like 30-35% of all Americans favor a total ban on handguns. How could 83% for concealed carry possibly be accurate?

Who said that the preferences have to be consistent across different questions? It's all in how you ask.

The poll should have listed the entire range of policy choices that have been made by the various states:

(1) No CCW (IL).
(2) CCW at the discretion of the local authority (CA, MA) after licensing and training.
(3) CCW at the discretion of a statewide body (CT) after licensing and training.
(4) Shall-issue CCW after licensing and training (OH)
(5) Shall-issue CCW after licensing (PA)
(6) Unrestricted CCW (AK, VT)

[ I'm aware this isn't exhaustive, but it's already complicated enough. ]

It's entirely speculative, but I imagine that neither (1), (2) or (5), (6) would be particularly popular.
8.4.2009 7:36pm
Dan M.:
Yeah, I'm sure someone could easily spin this as "83% oppose unrestricted open carry." And I wouldn't be surprised if that were true, since only 11 states have state preempted unlicensed open carry.
8.4.2009 7:40pm
Dan M.:
In fact, the facts as stated in the question are completely false, anyway. It doesn't even say anything about concealed carry in the question. As I said, 11 states have state preempted unlicensed open carry, and several others allow unlicensed open carry but it is either not preempted, left up to localities, or a few localities are grandfathered. I think here in West Virginia there is unlicensed open carry except that Charleston's laws are grandfathered in. So saying "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" is blatantly factually incorrect.
8.4.2009 7:44pm
tarpon (mail):
Around here, a whole lot of people are buying guns because they fear what might be coming, CRIME, social breakdown. I know a few CCW trainers, and they say they are swamped with applicants.
8.4.2009 7:45pm
Soronel Haetir (mail):
Oren,

You missed an important option, non-discretionary after some paperwork, but no training requirement. (Idaho) Not sure how many states have gone that route.
8.4.2009 7:52pm
cboldt (mail):
-- I'm pretty skeptical about the findings --
.
There isn't a finding, because it's a compound question and we have no way to discern the respondents' target. My take on the question is "Do you favor a requirement for training?"
8.4.2009 7:57pm
Brooks Lyman (mail):
One of the real problems with gun polls, "news" reports on the gun issues, editorials on the subject, etc. is that most non-gun owners (and a great many gun owners as well) are not sufficiently with the terminology and technology of firearms, the various uses of firearms and the many laws relating to firearms. Unfortunately, the people who write editorials, news articles and poll questions tend to be from the class of people who are less likely to own guns, and in fact often do not support the Second Amendment and gun ownership.

This ignorance is understandable, if unfortunate. It would be perhaps unfair to say, inexcusable, although when dealing with a Constitutional right that can have life/death consequences (self defense, criminal misuse of guns, etc.) one has a moral obligation to get things right. When you add to this ignorance the lies that the anti-gunners tell in the media, the problem becomes serious. This is one reason why the number of people in favor of handgun bans, "assault weapon" bans, and stricter gun control is as large as it is. Thankfully, common sense usually (?) prevails in the courts and legislatures.
8.4.2009 8:01pm
Dan M.:
Public opinion polls might offer some comfort in that we might be winning against the forces of evil, but as defenders of individual liberty and the sanctity of our fundamental right to own and carry weapons, we should sneer at any attempt to use public opinion to justify those rights, and likewise any attempt to use public opinion to attack those rights.
8.4.2009 8:01pm
Turgid:
"80% Support for Shall-Issue Concealed Carry?"

Why the question mark? This poll is no surprise at all and, indeed, I'm confident the real number is slightly higher than Zogby's poll represents
8.4.2009 8:33pm
Dan M.:
Turgid,

Really? You really think that over 80% of Americans support shall-issue concealed carry? I don't think even that much of the population even supports the right to own a firearm, period, let alone the right to carry a concealed handgun.
8.4.2009 8:42pm
Jon Roland (mail) (www):
Very few pollsters are particularly competent at wording nuanced poll questions. The only one I have worked with that seemed willing to listen to the customer on such wording is Rasmussen, but they will tend to get it wrong without educating them a lot. Pollsters tend to think they are experts on polling, but they are only experts on administration of polling, not on issues.

Zogby is at least open to comments. marc@zogby.com or comments@zogby.com. I have forwarded this thread to them.
8.4.2009 9:02pm
SuperSkeptic (mail):
Not so surprisingly, I'm super-skeptical about this poll...

Take my wife - please.

But seriously, folks:

Even if the other data cited is fairly accurate, 42% of respondents favoring "a law requiring a nationwide ban on ... people carrying a concealed weapon (with 55% opposition, we are basically split 50-50 as a nation as far as permitting our fellow citizens to exercise a constitutionally protected fundamental (natural?) right - the right to keep and bear arms. I know it's more controversial because people are killed by guns and all, (i know - "people kill people") but, imagine if this were the First Amendment for a moment:

"50% oppose allowing others to say ridiculous/hateful/controversial/politically incorrect things in the streets." It's an oversimplification, but would we worry about not being able to speak our minds?

I mean, this is why I'm so continuously skeptical about democracy - who cares what 50%+1 thinks when we have the First and Second Amendments? (SCOTUS interpretations aside for a moment). I cannot help drawing back to the metaphysics everytime these individual-natural-rights v. democractic-state-positive-law tensions arise....

and frankly, I'm at a loss...
8.4.2009 9:17pm
Kirk:
Soronel,

Oren does have that; it's option 5 (which describes WA also.)

Jon,
Very few pollsters are particularly competent at wording nuanced poll questions.
So that means that very few pollsters are any good at their jobs? Yes, selecting a statistically valid sample is also important, but if the questions themselves are garbled or meaningless...
8.4.2009 9:31pm
Mark N. (www):

"50% oppose allowing others to say ridiculous/hateful/controversial/politically incorrect things in the streets."

A more apt analogy to concealed carry for the first amendment might be anonymous speech. Not exactly the same, but it has some of the same element of a "covert" feel to the exercise of the right. And, unfortunately, I think public support for anonymous speech is not all that much more robust than support for concealed carry.
8.4.2009 9:32pm
Dan M.:
Well, I suppose it matters when advocacy organizations try to combat being marginalized by being labeled a 'fringe' organization. I mean, if you can't even keep an overwhelming majority from opposing your rights and labeling a group like the NRA as 'radical,' then your rights aren't safe.
8.4.2009 9:34pm
Dan M.:
Concealed carry would be analogous to anonymous speech if the right to open carry were as robust as the general right to speak. The reason we have to even settle for concealed carry is that even in those states where unlicensed open carry is legal, you risk being harassed by cops or arrested for disorderly conduct. Oh, and if you had to get a license from the state government to be able to speak anonymously.
8.4.2009 9:40pm
SuperSkeptic (mail):
The 1A analogy was the beginning of my point, but yes, the fact that you have to license your 2A right (despite "shall not be infringed") as compared to your 1A, makes it for me, thank you.
8.4.2009 9:57pm
Oren:

[...] settle for concealed carry [...]

If forced to chose, I would much prefer concealed carry versus open carry.

If concealed were outlawed but open were not, I would probably "settle" for leaving my gun at home.
8.4.2009 10:27pm
tom swift (mail):
I read the question, "Do you support or oppose this law?" as being about the amendment concerning reciprocity, not the laws about licensing in the individual states. Here is the text from the report -

An amendment that would have permitted law-abiding gun owners with concealed-carry permits to carry their firearms across state lines recently fell short in the Senate...

Zogby/O'Leary asked voters:

"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?"
8.4.2009 10:41pm
George Weiss (mail) (www):
push poll
8.4.2009 10:44pm
Kirk:
If concealed were outlawed but open were not, I would probably "settle" for leaving my gun at home.
Your choice, of course--but what a victory for the criminal class.
8.4.2009 10:56pm
Oren:


If concealed were outlawed but open were not, I would probably "settle" for leaving my gun at home.

Your choice, of course--but what a victory for the criminal class.

Well, all the more reason to allow concealed carry (but I imagine you were in favor of that already).

Open carry is a whole can of snakes that is worthy of a thread in its own right.
8.4.2009 11:44pm
Soronel Haetir (mail):
SuperSkeptic,

Polls regularly find significant blocks of people who don't like the current bounds of 1A law and would like to see it much restricted. Workplace harassment and hate crime laws have had an effect on what people think should be legal.

And that's discounting things like Piss Jesus and flag burning.
8.4.2009 11:49pm
Dan M.:
Oren, the point is that in many states people have to settle for a "right" to pay for a license to carry a concealed weapon and if this weapon becomes visible in any manner (including if someone can figure out that that bulge in your pocket is a gun) they can be arrested. I think that's absurd. There's no reason that I shouldn't be allowed to openly carry a holstered weapon on any public street. That doesn't seem to be an issue anywhere in
WV except in Charleston but it is in others. At the very least there is no reason that I should have to pay for a license for the "right" to carry a weapon in public, openly or concealed.
8.5.2009 12:12am
Upend, Coming:
Zogby has been known to do private polling work - including push polls. The obvious political lean of the organization was attacked by Nate Silver in the run up to the 2008 election as well as in March of this year.

In just March of this year, a Zogby poll showed significantly different approval ratings for the president. In fact, nearly 10 percentage points lower than other organizations and a significant outlier. Note the link name is "worst-pollster."

See: 538 notes: "Worst Pollster in the world: Zogby"

For other articles:

Zogby in apparent push polling just prior to presidential election

All articles labeled with Zogby by 538.com

At this point it is fair enough to say that Nate Silver is a respected statistician - although with a known liberal bias.
8.5.2009 12:14am
Mike Stollenwerk (mail) (www):
A lot more than 11 states have preempted unlicensed open carry - who is stating such nonsense without citation to authority?
8.5.2009 12:17am
Dan M.:
Hopefully you consider the Gold-Star states listed on this map as a citation to authority.
8.5.2009 12:51am
Oren:

At the very least there is no reason that I should have to pay for a license for the "right" to carry a weapon in public, openly or concealed.

And the general public has the right to prevent the unqualified, the mentally unstable and convicted felons from carrying, which is generally easiest accomplished with some form of shall-issue licensing.

Also, why "right" in scare quotes? Is it not really a right but just a privilege -- that would seem to cut against your argument that licensing is improper.
8.5.2009 1:02am
Kirk:
Following up on Mike Stollenwerk's objection, here is my count as determined from www.opencarry.org (Mike is one of the owners of that site!)

Full preemption in regard to open carry, 22 states

AK
AL
AZ
ID
KY
ME
MI
MS
MT
ND
NH
NM
NV
OH
SD
TX
UT
VA
VT
WA
WI
WY

Partial preemption of open carry (e.g. Denver is exempt from state preemption and does in fact prohibit open carry), 7 states

CA
CO
IA
NC
NE
OR
PA

Preempted, but existing local bans of open carry are grandfathered, 3 states

DE
LA
WV

No preemption of local firearm regulation (note MO does have preemption of every aspect of firearm law except open carry), 4 states

IL
KS
MO
NJ

Open carry by permit only (note this covers a wide latitude of state situations, from shall-issue Indiana to fairly-difficult-to-get may-issue Massachusetts), 7 states

CT
GA
IN
MA
MN
RI
TN

Open carry prohibited by state or district law, 8 states

AR
DC
FL
HI
MD
NY
OK
SC
8.5.2009 1:17am
Kirk:
And the general public has the right to prevent the unqualified, the mentally unstable and convicted felons from carrying, which is generally easiest accomplished with some form of shall-issue licensing.
That's mostly nonsense, as the completely-permitless experience of VT and AK, and the permitless open carry of places like VA and WA amply demonstrate. Our rates of gun-related assaults and accidents aren't higher, in any statistically significant sense, than anywhere else in the country--and far lower than the rates in anti-gun h*llholes like Chicago and DC.
8.5.2009 1:21am
Dan M.:
[Comment deleted due to pointless vulgarity and insult. Folks, let's keep it civilized here. -EV]
8.5.2009 1:22am
Cornellian (mail):
Definitely a badly worded question. You're probably getting a lot of "yes" answers from people who think they're approving of requiring people to pass a background check and get firearms training before being allowed a concealed carry permit.
8.5.2009 1:39am
Dan M.:
Kirk, how are you making your count? I was simply using the map at opencarry.org that I linked to. Is there a better map? That map has 11 Gold-star states and 17 "anomalous" states.

Of those 17, some of them (including some of those you include in your list of 22) seem to have no more than restrictions on unlicensed carrying in your car or perhaps some other stupid restriction. So then you have to drive around with an unloaded gun and then unless you're inserting a loaded magazine into a holstered weapon, you could probably get arrested just for loading your gun in a stopped car.

Yes, I noticed that Mike was one of the founders of opencarry.org, that was why I was a little shocked that it didn't even occur to him that his website has a map that shows 11 states with unrestricted open carry, which was my original phrasing, though I later categorized "unrestricted open carry" as "state preempted unlicensed open carry." If a restriction on carrying in your car, such as in Alabama (according to opencarry.org) is considered "unrestricted" then I guess that's my mistake in conflating "unrestricted" with "state preempted unlicensed open carry." Though obviously I would concede that if you can't legally own the gun, you can't legally carry it, so that's obviously a restriction in any state.
8.5.2009 1:55am
Kirk:
Dan,

At first you said, "state preempted unlicensed open carry", which is what I--and presumably Mike--were responding to.

Your later changed that to "unrestricted", which a vastly more stringent test--I'll bet that most of those "Gold" states don't actually allow any kind of carry inside courtrooms, or any unlicensed carry in K-12 schools!

My count was based on a quick read through the info, and is certainly subject to revision if someone wants to take the time to do a more thorough job, or wants to use different criteria.

For my count, if open carry was generally permitted in the state, and if preemption meant that localities couldn't restrict open carry per se, then it went on the "full" list. Places like OR, PA, and CO, that have significant exceptions to the preemption regime, went on the "partial" list. Maybe WA, AL, and anyplace else that prohibits unlicensed car carry should have gone on the "partial" list, you could certainly make a valid argument for that.
8.5.2009 2:10am
Dan M.:
Also, according to opencarry.org, from those you listed among the 22:

"the Mississippi courts have said that a handgun in a holster is concealed in part, a License to Carry a Concealed Pistol or Revolver is required to openly carry a handgun in a holster in Mississippi."

North Dakota requires a license.

Alabama, Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire, Ohio, Washington, and Wisconsin have the vehicle restriction but nothing else (some also seem to have very hostile or misinformed police departments).

Texas is listed as not allowing open carry at all.

Utah apparently requires you to have the gun 2 actions from firing.

So, what I meant to say was the I originally said "unrestricted" with regard to how someone could spin the poll, and then I characterized "unrestricted" as "state preempted unlicensed open carry" even though you obviously can't avoid all restrictions such as restrictions on even owning the weapon, and, as you said, carrying in a courtroom.

So, if you consider it "unlicensed open carry" if you can't even have a loaded gun in your car without a license, I think we'll just have to call that a difference of opinion.
8.5.2009 2:25am
Dan M.:
My count was also based on a quick glance at a map on opencarry.org, so I was a little taken aback to be accused by a founder of that site of spreading nonsense.
8.5.2009 2:28am
Kirk:
Oy veh, my sprint through the map was a bit too quick. Texas is indeed no-open-carry; no idea how I managed to get that wrong. North Dakota, on the other hand, was just misreading on my part. So take 2 off "full", and add 1 each to "licensed" and "no open carry".
8.5.2009 3:10am
Dan M.:
Yeah, no problem.
8.5.2009 3:38am
RAH (mail):
Some states have LTC- license to carry that allows open or concealed. TN is like that and MD is too. MD is will issue. But unlikely to get. So MD LTC allows concealed or open or in a car. Getting a license is very hard since it is best to be politically connected, but once you get the license is pretty broad.


Other states have no laws prohibiting OC but the definition of concealed if prohibited can be difficult. Like Missipppi stated above that OC in a holster is defined as concealed and thus prohibited. I doubt that Missippi wants people to carry the gun in their at th ready position. So that definition that hoslter carry is concealed is a way to stop OC.
8.5.2009 7:14am
Joe The Plumber (mail):
I can't see why that would increase to 83% in the last two years;

Um, perhaps it is because the country elected more gun banners in that time?

Further, citing a 2 year old poll from a biased organization (ABC) does nothing to support anything you've said.
8.5.2009 9:09am
SeaLawyer:
Never trust a Zogby poll.
8.5.2009 10:04am
Ride Fast (mail) (www):
[...] We're either winning, improving, or both [...]

You do have a valid point. Same poll in writing would be interesting.
8.5.2009 10:16am
Bill Quick (mail) (www):
Here's an old, totally unscientific online poll from the far-left Democratic Underground, in which only 11% of the respondents wanted a total ban on handguns. More than 50% wanted no restrictions whatsoever on concealed carry.
8.5.2009 10:29am
Steve:
Well, ok, but the actual scientific polls always seem to come out with a number like 30-35% in favor of a handgun ban.

It amazes me that anyone could seriously believe 83% of Americans support shall-issue concealed carry. Would that it were so, as it would demonstrate a heretofore unknown level of appreciation for the Constitution, but there's just no way. It's a ludicrous poll result and EV's analysis seems to be right on the mark.
8.5.2009 10:57am
mariner:
Steve:
Something like 30-35% of all Americans favor a total ban on handguns. How could 83% for concealed carry possibly be accurate?

Something like 80% of people favor concealed carry. How could 30-35% possibly be accurate?
8.5.2009 11:11am
Bill Quick (mail) (www):
Steve: I thought the poll was surprising, not for its scientific accuracy, but as an indicator - especially from that particular source.

You would think that it would have been swamped by anti-gun respondents, but not so.

OTOH, way back in the days of my New Left youth, we were all very pro-Second Amendment about bearing arms. We certainly all supported the Black Panthers along those lines, and in bull sessions, good rads all recognized the necessity of personal, private firepower in effecting The Revolution against the fascist Johnson/Nixon governments.
8.5.2009 11:26am
James Gibson (mail):

But while I support shall-issue laws, I'm pretty skeptical about the findings, because of the text of the question:

Prof Volokh, your concerns are valid regarding the question. But having deceptive questions is part and parcel to this issue.

The Violence Policy center has been running a statistic that says firearm ownership has been dropping for decades (VPC document on the "Shrinking Minority"). They take it from a Chicago based National Opinion Research Center General Social Survey. The funny thing is you never see the question in the GSS results published by NORC. But you see the question when VPC quotes the statistic.


Do you happen to have in your home (if house: or garage) any guns or revolvers?

Problem, The question is put forward as a general question on gun ownership. But when gun owners see the word "Guns" linked to "Revolvers", they tend to interpret "Guns" as a truncated "Handguns". Thus people who own long guns only will state they don't own any and the statistic is now artificially reduced.
8.5.2009 11:29am
Bill Quick (mail) (www):
Here is a whole slew of recent polling on guns and the issues that surround them.

The responses are sort of all over the place - people "want stricter gun control laws" and at the same time don't think they would do any good, etc., but a couple of polls bear on the conventional wisdom that nearly a third of Americans want a complete ban on handguns. These responses don't bear that out:

"Would you support or oppose amending the United States Constitution to ban individual gun ownership?"


Support Oppose Unsure
17% 78% 6%


7/8-13/08

And a CNN poll last month showed that somewhere in the neighborhood of 80% of the respondents supports the RKBA with either no, or some restrictions. Only 21% supported a "militia only" interpretation of the Second, which I am using as a marker for supporting a ban on private ownership of firearms.

All of this tends to make Zogby's responses less unbelievable than they are being portrayed here.
8.5.2009 11:38am
Steve:
Something like 80% of people favor concealed carry.

Yeah, based on one new poll, as opposed to poll after poll over the years that have come up with the 30-35% number. And when a pollster asks people whether they support a total ban on handguns, other than for the police, there's not much ambiguity in that.

But this just illustrates the difficulty of getting people to accept contrary facts. Some people want to believe that 83% of Americans support concealed carry so badly that they're willing to talk themselves into believing an absurd result.
8.5.2009 11:40am
mcbain:
Steve,


Where are you getting this 30-35% from, is this from the 70s?
8.5.2009 12:06pm
Floridan:
Are there any state capitol buildings that do not prohibit entry with a firearm (concealed or otherwise)?
8.5.2009 12:18pm
Dan M.:
I'm pretty sure that Virginia allows concealed carry into the capitol building.
8.5.2009 12:29pm
Jim at FSU (mail):
For those not in the know, Steve is a regular leftist troll here. He will defend any leftist position even if (haha, especially if) it conflicts with the facts, with known caselaw or with logic in general.

You should assume that everything he says is either an intentional lie or the result of a diseased mental state.
8.5.2009 1:23pm
Soronel Haetir (mail):
I've also read that Texas licensees can carry in the capitol building, including the legislative chambers.
8.5.2009 1:43pm
Gene Hoffman (mail) (www):
As surprising as it seems, California law will allow a carry licensed individual into the capitol building with a firearm. However, in practice I believe one would be required to check a firearm with the Sargent at Arms.

-Gene
8.5.2009 2:27pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
I would love if the percentage is that high. I don't believe it. It is a reminder of how easy it is to get the results you want by asking the question in the right way. Gun control advocates have been asking the questions that they want to get the results that they want for years.
8.5.2009 3:07pm
Dan M.:
Well, it's also a reminder of how easy it is to get totally unbelievable results if you ask a completely confusing and nonsensical question.

Even the Daily Kos commissioned poll about Obama's birth asked people "Do you believe that Barack Obama was born in the United States of America or not?" and it was a Yes/No question. I don't care if it seems abundantly clear, but framing a question as an either/or and asking for a Yes/No response is simply stupid when you are designing a poll to accurately gauge public opinion. No, I don't think that affected the results in this particular example, but it's simply an example of lazy phrasing of poll questions that could potentially be confusing.
8.5.2009 3:59pm
Kevin P. (mail):
To clarify Texas: Texas allows for unrestricted and unregulated open carry of long guns (rifles and shotguns).

The open carry of handguns is prohibited, even with a carry license. You can carry a handgun openly only on your own property or on a shooting range. Only law enforcement and security guards can carry openly in public.

These laws apply statewide. Texas has preempted all local gun control laws of any consequence.
8.5.2009 5:10pm
http://volokh.com/?exclude=davidb :

If concealed were outlawed but open were not, I would probably "settle" for leaving my gun at home.

We Virginians (other than some government officials...) face this problem wherever alcohol is served. Concealed carry in booze-serving locations is prohibited, but open carry is not.

And I have reached the same conclusion you have. I carry concealed all the time, but have essentially no interest in carrying openly.
8.5.2009 11:27pm
Kirk:
Washington State also permits (by the simple expedient of not prohibiting) carrying firearms into the capitol building.
8.6.2009 1:20am
zippypinhead:
[VPC poll language:] "Do you happen to have in your home (if house: or garage) any guns or revolvers?"

Problem, The question is put forward as a general question on gun ownership. But when gun owners see the word "Guns" linked to "Revolvers", they tend to interpret "Guns" as a truncated "Handguns". Thus people who own long guns only will state they don't own any and the statistic is now artificially reduced.
Bigger problem leading to a systemic undercounting of firearms ownership - when an unknown pollster cold-calls asking that question, I am fairly confident that quite a few gun owners will decline to answer. Many law-abiding gun owners know of people who have had problems of variious sorts when their gun ownership has become known to third parties. Even with a (nominally public) CCW permit and a Federal C&R FFL, I'd hang up on anybody I didn't know askng about my firearms ownership. It's simply none of their business.
8.6.2009 12:32pm

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