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When Cops Disagree With The President
By cdmichel | Published April 22, 2013

Whenever politicians promote new gun control measures, they surround themselves on stage with nervous looking cops. The officers fidget because they don't want to be there.

One of the best kept secrets about gun control is that street cops, the ones who patrol your neighborhoods, don't think highly of gun control. Having the advantage of dealing daily with your neighbors and criminals, they know the difference. They understand the methods and motivations of thugs and thieves, and how criminals come by their guns. This has led them to disbelieve in gun control's efficacy (the National Academy of Sciences, after several years of diligent research, came to the same conclusion).

But now an extensive poll details what cops think about gun control.

PoliceOne is an online hub for 450,000 members of law enforcement. In March of 2013, PoliceOne polled their members about various aspects of gun control, including the pack of proposals currently floating around D.C. and Sacramento. Over 12,000 working cops, as well as a handful of retired officers, answered the poll. With 83% of the respondents being on the streets or directly leading those officers, their voice is clear and their opposition to gun control is loud.

Given the current squabble over new and suspect gun control legislation, some highlights from the survey are instructive:

* 80% see no value in "universal" background checks.
* 92% of officers think an "assault weapons" ban would either have no effect on violent crime or would make it worse.
* 96% doubt banning extra capacity magazines would slow violence.

Law enforcement's disinclination toward gun control runs counter to the President and the entire California Senate delegation in Washington. This begs the question of who is best informed about the realities of gun violence, and what policies are appropriate; politicos thousands of miles away or the officer in the squad car on your street corner. In terms of reducing violence, officers in the PoliceOne survey said they know the following strategies would work:

* 91% favor stiff mandatory sentences with no plea bargaining for using a gun in a crime.
* The same number support civilian concealed carry and 86% think it would reduce or prevent mass public shooting casualties.
* 59% think increasing penalties for illegally trafficking guns would help.

When those sworn to protect you, your loved ones and your children from criminals say gun control isn't the answer, we need to pay attention. When street cops, who know criminals at a very personal level, think gun control is useless, we better listen.

---- Sources:

PoliceOne's survey (complete):
http://www.policeone.com/news/6188462-PoliceOnes-2013-Gun-Policy-Law-Enforcement-Survey-Results-Executive-Summary/

National Academy of Sciences report
http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?recordid=10881