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What Should We Make of Recent Poll on Gun Control?

AP Photo/Andrew Selsky

Whenever recent mass shootings occur, activist groups and a friendly mainstream media rushes to promote gun control as the answer, despite how last year's gun control legislation evidently didn't work well enough to stop the shootings that have occurred since then. Quite the attention is also given to young people and their opinions on gun control, though it would seem there's a preference for listening to only one side of the issue.

Tom Knighton at our sister site Bearing Arms wrote the aptly titled "Please stop pretending kids have the answers on guns" earlier on Monday, in which he emphasizes that young people are entitled to their views, though he still calls out those who give them such a platform.

"But it doesn’t help that the media acts like their opinions on the matter represent some great wisdom. It was really bad after Parkland, but it’s still happening, such as this editorial," he writes, linking to an editorial from the Daily Camera, "The next generation is showing us the way on gun reform." 

Knighton also highlighted a major reason issue at hand:

See, easing fears doesn’t sell newspapers. It doesn’t draw eyes onto television or computer screens.

So why should we listen to kids with incomplete information who are also supposed to be inherently irrational on the subject of guns?

The issue isn’t that they’re young or that they disagree with me, it’s that they’re not actually saying anything that has any bearing on reality.

“We’re scared we’ll be killed!”

You should be more scared of dying in a car accident, which is a lot more likely unless you’re involved in criminal activity, but that doesn’t stop any 16-year-old I know from tripping over themselves to get their license.

That’s because they don’t find the media telling them the dangers of teenagers driving cars.

Since they cannot or do not do any risk analysis of their own, their fears are largely manufactured by an anti-gun media, which then reports those fears as if they had no part in creating them and as if they’re wholly justified.

So no, we shouldn’t listen to kids on guns, not because they’re incapable of speaking on the subject, but because so many of them have been manipulated.

It's worth noting that The Hill also published this opinion piece, "Republicans’ cult of the assault weapon won’t withstand Gen Z," by Karen Treverton and Gregory F. Treverton. 

The piece is nauseatingly predictable. "We will not stop mass shootings until we ban assault weapons," one paragraph reads. "There is absolutely no reason for these weapons to exist outside of the military," claims the line before it. Other than mentioning their concerns with the AR-15, though, there is no definition of what "assault weapons" are. The piece closes with a similar rallying cry.  "We need to ban assault weapons everywhere in this country. And the youth of America are leading the way!"

It also is full of lazy contempt for the Republicans by referring to them as "groomers" and claiming that they are the ones "so eager to politicize" school board meetings. Further, specific ideas to make schools and students and staff safe, such as armed guards, are mocked.

The same time as such opinion pieces were published, CBS News/YouGov also released their findings of their most recent poll, the findings on gun control being promoted, including as it pertains how parents and kids respond.

"America's parents show increasing concern over gun violence — CBS News poll," read a CBS News headline from the pollsters. 

The poll finds that among respondents who are parents of school-age students, 77 percent say they are "very concerned" (38 percent) or "somewhat concerned" (39 percent) about gun violence at their children's school. 

As it turns out, though, gun violence is the issue they're least worried about, with 61 percent of parents responding their children say they're concerned "a lot" or "sometimes." This is compared to "bullying" (77 percent), "social pressures" (70 percent), and "academic performance" (67 percent). Further, the percentage of parents who responded their children say they're "never" concerned about those issues is highest for gun violence, at 20 percent. 

NewsBusters' Nicholas Fondacaro, in highlighting coverage of the poll from "CBS Mornings," pointed to issues with such questions and who was asked them, as well as the methodology. As he wrote with original emphasis:

One of the more questionable results involved [co-host Tony] Dokoupil proclaiming “[g]un violence is a top worry among kids. 6 in 10 say, in fact, say it is a major concern, something on their minds. And it's on the very same list as you find more common teenage concerns, like bullying and academic performance.”

But CBS never actually polled school-aged kids. The network was relying on a subset of their respondents who say they have kids answering on their behalf.

The exact wording of the questions read: “Which of these, if any, do your children say they feel worried about while attending school...” And to get the 61 percent, they combined the “a lot” (28%) and “sometimes” (33%) answers together. This portion of the poll had an abysmal margin of error of 6.8 percent.

When addressing how the poll claims that 62 percent want "a nationwide ban on the AR-15 semi-automatic weapon," Fondacaro also noted that "the findings didn’t mesh with a February ABC News/Washington Post poll that found only 47 percent supported a ban while 51 percent opposed it."

Another poll question illustrates that for however much Democrats think they have the answers, respondents don't think that they do, even if they're more likely to think that they do over Republicans. 

When asked what they thought the Democratic Party or Republican Party's "approaches to gun policy generally" did, a plurality for each party said "put people more at risk from gun violence," at 38 percent and 41 percent, respectively. Thirty-seven percent said that the Democrats' policies "make people safer from gun violence," while 34 percent said the same about Republicans. Twenty-five percent said each party's policies "don't have any impact."

When it comes to what the Democratic Party's solution has been, it indeed involves looking to ban so-called assault weapons, though President Joe Biden has not defined what that means and members of his administration have refused to do so. And, as Mia highlighted amidst previous calls, Biden has made false claims about how the 1994 federal ban on so-called assault weapons, which Congress let expire in 2004, actually worked. 

From his political account on Monday, Biden again made more demands about gun control, which many Twitter users were quick to pounce on, as our sister site of Twitchy highlighted, including Dana Loesch.

Gun control wouldn't be the only issue at odds in the poll. As Madeline covered, the poll also had dubious responses showing strong support for the abortion pill method. Such questions don't fully define the method, though, and are also at odds with polling conducted by CRC Research for Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America. 

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