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Survey says: Gun laws don't reduce crime

Posted By Jon Dougherty On 04/08/1999 @ 1:00 am In Front Page | Comments Disabled

Most police officers in Northampton and Lehigh Counties in Pennsylvania indicated that more gun control and less private
firearm ownership does not substantially reduce crime, according to a survey conducted in October 1997.

The survey, which was conducted between June and October 1997, found that nearly 63 percent of respondents either
“disagreed” or “strongly disagreed” with the statement, “Gun laws reduce crime.” When asked to respond to the statement, “More
gun laws reduce crime,” about 73 percent of respondents “disagreed” or “strongly disagreed.” The poll has a margin of error of
2-5 percent.

Other notable findings of the study include:

  • 88.6 percent believed outlawing civilian gun ownership would not stop crime.

  • Nearly 87 percent did not believe outlawing civilian gun ownership would “lead to a more civilized society.”

  • 66 percent did not believe the mandatory Brady 5-day waiting period for handgun purchases was an effective crime
    deterrent.

  • Almost 91 percent thought that limiting gun ownership to law abiding citizens “does not keep guns out of the hands of
    criminals.”

  • 89 percent said they didn’t think it was proper for politicians to dictate how firearms should be kept in a person’s
    home.

However, nearly 60 percent of respondents said they would participate in “house-to-house searches” of illegal
“military-style” assault weapons if the government banned them completely, while 53 percent said they would “participate in
dynamic entry, house to house searches to seize them if so ordered by a superior,” if all guns were banned to private owners.

One officer noted that he would comply with search and seizure orders only if they accompanied a legal court order and
warrant to do so.

The survey, conducted by Stephen Christopoulos, a research analyst at Easton (PA) Hospital, was a project that grew out of
a conversation with a friend who worked at the Allentown Health Bureau in the early summer of 1997.

“We both agreed that such an undertaking could prove to be both interesting and insightful. My personal motivation was
curiosity,” he wrote before publishing his results on the Internet.

Christopoulos said 56 percent of those police officers and police chiefs polled responded out of 680 potential
participants. He noted in his study that, “Surprisingly to me, a great many of the chiefs to whom I spoke and those few
officers I came in contact with when I picked up the completed surveys expressed great support for my project.”

“There were many comments to the effect that it was about time someone asked them what they thought about the issues. The
general feeling was that the media took the easy way out by asking these kinds of questions only of the big police
organizations such as the national union leadership of the Fraternal Order of Police or the National Association of Chiefs of
Police.”


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