Quote of the day—Pew Research Center

A majority of the public (58%) says that gun ownership in this country does more to protect people from becoming victims of crime, compared with 37% who believe it does more to put people’s safety at risk.

Pew Research Center
August 26, 2016
Opinions on Gun Policy and the 2016 Campaign
[That’s the good news.

The bad news is there doesn’t seem to be any anti-gun laws being proposed in any of the major legislative bodies that the majority of people are opposed to. I don’t have an explanation for this dichotomy other than what I have said many times before:

It’s irrational to expect people to be rational.

I guess it just means we have more work to do in changing the culture.—Joe]


11 thoughts on “Quote of the day—Pew Research Center

  1. That’s an interesting result, given that Pew is a notoriously left wing outfit.

  2. The bad news is there doesn’t seem to be any anti-gun laws being proposed in any of the major legislative bodies that the majority of people are opposed to. I don’t have an explanation for this dichotomy other than what I have said many times before

    A few other options:
    – Selection bias.
    – The phrasing/verbiage of polling questions.
    – Lumping in more than one response into a larger collective sub-group.
    – Straight-up misreading or misrepresenting the data.

    On that third point, I remember one poll a while back, the result was reported by the pro-gun side as (and I’m making the number up) “63% of people don’t support more restrictive gun laws”. It wasn’t that that percentage opposed more restrictive gun laws; they combined the “oppose”, “strongly oppose”, and “keep the laws the same” groups to get that number (the rest either supported or strongly supported stricter gun laws, or weren’t sure).

    For example, I could see the “90% of Americans support universal background checks on all gun transfers” being a combination of any or all of these:
    – Only those with strong opinions are inclined to answer (selection bias).
    – Using the “keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals and the mentally ill”, “keep our children safe”, or similar emotion-based wording (phrasing/verbiage).
    – Conflating “retail gun sales”, “all gun sales”, and “all gun transfers”, as if they’re equivalent legal terms (phrasing/verbiage and misrepresentation).
    – Insinuating/implying that any background check or registration law will curb the black market in firearms (phrasing/verbiage and misrepresentation).
    – Counting the very-large “keep the laws the same” crowd in with true supporters (lumping, falsely in this case, which also means misrepresenting).
    – Building on the previous item, asking instead how many support repealing the Brady Bill and eliminating ALL background checks (which is a much smaller number), and reporting everyone who doesn’t say “yes” as supporting expansion of background checks (lumping, misrepresenting, and phrasing/verbiage are all at play).

    Or, the anti-gun groups (and their media mouthpieces) are just lying. That’s a possibility that we can’t rule out based on evidence. Just sayin’.

  3. Archer makes some good points. I’ll add some additional options.

    Differing (rational) threat analysis: Those polled look at the proposed policies and see them as mitigating serious risks and not compromising the protective utility of firearms ownership. They reject our concerns as being based on a slippery-slope fallacy.

    Historical ignorance: If you haven’t been following the issue closely, you don’t see the state of erosion. You don’t remember DiFi, Schumer, et al, crowing about how their victories were “just the beginning.” You don’t see the parallels between the proposed policies in the US and the enacted laws in the UK and Australia.

    Reasoning starts from axioms uses logic to incorporate facts into greater understanding. Start from different axioms and/or use different facts and you come to a different understanding. Rationally.

    That’s not to say that there isn’t a lot of irrationality around. Or there isn’t value in trying to change the culture to employ different axioms and acknowledge certain facts. Just that saying people are crazy and have crap for brains is a rhetorical dead-end if you’re trying to move the needle in your desired direction.

    • Sounds reasonable. But note that, in this particular case, I didn’t call anyone crazy or as having crap for brains.

      • Fair dinkum. That was me reading too much into your use of the word “irrational”. Possibly in subconscious service to my rhetoric. There are times when my insidious tendencies come back and bite me on the ass.

    • Even as far back as Aristotle it was recognized that some people CANNOT be reached / convinced by logical argument (dialectic). They can only be reached with emotional appeal (rhetoric). They don’t think the way you or I do, they *feel*. They are driven by emotion.

      They can, with effort and in limited circumstances follow logic when the topic is something with little emotional value (say, a sixth grade math problem about diving three pizzas among eight friends), but they are unable to identify axioms, principles, logical fallacies, or logical chains of reason. They are simply not capable of it. Sadly, there are a lot more of them than you might suspect.

  4. So my eye scans across that headline and my brain (prepped by the primary topic of this blog) reports “Pew Pew Research Center”.

  5. Doesn’t matter what ‘the polls say’. A right is a right regardless of public opinions or desires. EVERYBODY in America could vote to ban guns

    The average American these days is simply too stupid, ignorant and self
    obsessed to comprehend the actual meaning of what a right is.

  6. Screw the culture, go for the laws. Legislate gun freedom. Let the opposition spend millions of dollars and decades of time reversing pro-gun laws, rather than us doing so in attempts to reverse anti-gun laws.

    When the people are told, “Well, it IS legal,” they generally go, “OK, never mind.”

    • Legislate gun freedom.

      …uh, we do have that. 2nd Amendment and various State constitutions with similar clauses.

      Unfortunately that hasn’t worked out too well as legislators are good at ignoring pesky things like that when it contradicts their desires.

      • Not only do we have the 2nd amendment, but we have Article 1 Section 8, and the 9th and 10th amendments. If our government were law abiding, we wouldn’t need the 2nd amendment — it would be recognized as redundant, just as it was said to be by the Federalists who argued against it.
        But of course legislators, executive branch people, and judges are nearly all dishonest and evil people who have no interest whatsoever in the plain and simple English words of the supreme law of the land.

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