Mom and dad, more cops think you’re to blame for gun violence in American these days that any other single cause.
Government, you’re in second. And Hollywood, you’re third.
That’s according to a new survey from PoliceOne.com, which surveyed more than 15,000 verified police professionals with a series of questions about guns and violence.
The results showed that 38 percent of the cops blame “decline in parenting and family values” for the gun violence of late – the Newton, Conn., school murders, the Aurora, Colo., theater murders, and the like.
Almost 14 percent blamed parole, early release and short sentences for violent offenders, and another 14 percent blamed pop culture, including violent movies and video games. Very small categories blamed poor treatment for the mentally ill, economic factors and the available of weapons.
The poll was conducted between March 4-13 and included more than 15,000 officers from among PoliceOne’s 400,000 member law enforcement officers, both active and retired.
The poll said 71 percent said a federal ban on the manufacture and sale of some semi-automatic firearms, “termed by some as ‘assault weapons,’” would make no difference at all on violent crime. Fewer than 7 percent of the respondents said it would any positive effect at all, and 20 percent said the impact would be negative.
As for that popular ban on “ammunition magazines,” which lawmakers in Colorado already have adopted, sending one Colorado company employing hundreds of people into a strategy of leaving the state as soon as possible, 96 percent of the law enforcement officers said it would not reduce violent crime.
And about those extra background checks? Already they were required for purchases through a licensed dealer. But Colorado now requires them when the deal is between a private buyer and seller.
Eighty percent of the officers say there will be no discernible impact on violent crime, with another 9 percent uncertain.
What would work, the officers say, is a crackdown on those who buy guns and then hand them over to others. Nearly 59 percent of the respondents said that would help. And 42 percent said citizens should be required to complete a safety course before being allowed to buy a gun.
More than 9 of 10 respondents also said a stiff sentence for using a gun in a crime “with no plea bargains” would help.
While a bare plurality agreed mental health background checks on prospective gun buyers could reduce mass shooting incidents, a national database on all gun sales would be pointless, according to 70 percent of the respondents.
But sheriffs like those in Colorado who said the state’s new gun laws were impossible to enforce – how would one know about a private sale? – got support from many of their colleagues across the nation.
Forty-eight percent said they would respond very favorable to statements from those leaders who say they cannot enforce the restrictive gun laws. Another 22 percent said they would respond favorably. Only 16 percent would respond either unfavorably or very unfavorably.
In fact, 45 percent of the respondents said they would not enforce those questioned laws if they were in a position to decide, such as being a chief or sheriff.
More than 81 percent said gun buyback or turn-in programs were valueless, and 66 percent said they were aware of an “open carry movement” in their jurisdiction. Those would be individuals who carry firearms openly as a political statement.
And in a stunning statement of their confidence in the population across America, the cops responded overwhelmingly positively to the question, “Do you support the concealed carry of firearms by civilians who have not been convicted of a felony and/or not been deemed psychologically/medically incapable?”
Ninety-one percent said “Yes, without question and without further restrictions.”
Eighty percent said in cases like Newtown and Aurora, the casualties likely would have been reduced had legally armed citizens been on site and prepared. Seventy-six percent also said they would support arming teachers if they were trained and qualified.
The site explains it is an online resource for law enforcers.
“Our mission is to provide officers with information and resources that make them better able to protect their communities and stay safer on the streets. We provide a secure, trusted and reliable online environment for the exchange of information between officers and departments from across the United States and from around the world.”
“This survey captures the perspective of an audience that has an intimate professional connection to gun policies in our country, yet is rarely heard from as a group in discussions on the issue,” said Alex Ford, CEO of the Praetorian Group, PoliceOne’s parent company.
“Our standing as the leading online community in the law enforcement market enabled us to gather what we feel is the most meaningful sampling of police attitudes about gun control ever compiled. There is clearly a wide range of opinions regarding this issue nationwide and we believe it’s important for our audience’s voice to be heard.”