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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The New MAIG Poll and NRA Member Support for Commonsense Gun Laws.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns released results of a poll yesterday that claims a large percentage of NRA members surveyed favor "commonsense gun laws."  "Commonsense gun laws" is gun ban lobby speak for gun control.  I'm not so sure there is any new news in this poll other than the fact they commissioned Frank Luntz to do the poll. If the questions were framed the way they are in MAIG's press release, I don't know too many people who would disagree with some of the points raised.  For instance:
  • I don't know too many gun owners, NRA members, or VSSA members, who want criminals to have a firearm.
  • One of the questions dealt with background checks for employees of gun dealers.  Many of us go through background checks for jobs these days.
They also included a question related to the so-called terrorist watch list.  Remember, an individual on the "watch list" does not have to have been convicted of a crime, they do not have to have been charged with a terrorist act to wind up on the list.  In fact, no one except the people who compile the list knows how a name ends up on it.  The late Ted Kennedy, a U.S. Senator, was on the watch list at one point and Congressman John Lewis' name was on the list. But those facts likely are never explained when such poll questions are asked. So, I can't imagine an informed VSSA or NRA member supporting banning an individual who has not committed a crime from exercising a fundamental right, simply because their name is on a list that no one can tell them how they got on it or how they can get their name removed.

I'm not a pollster or a statistician so I'll just give you the sample information and let those who know more about polling and random sampling pick it apart.

Luntz surveyed "945 gun owners"  (a pretty reliable sample size from what little I know about polling), but here is where this poll challenged commentator begins to raise red flags:
The sample was divided evenly by gun owners who were current or lapsed members of the NRA, and non-NRA gun owners.
The NRA does not rent its list, so the only way the pollster knows if someone is an NRA member (or lapsed member) is if the respondant self identifies.  I also would like to know how they found a random sample that only contained gun owners, and then wound up being split 50-50 between NRA Member/lapsed NRA Members and non NRA members.  The MAIG web site does not have this information and the poll cross tabs are not currently available on the Luntz website.

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