Back in May, Mayors Against Illegal Guns hired media wordsmith and Republican pollster Frank Luntz to conduct a survey that asked gun owners their thoughts on different gun control measures. Overall, the poll found that the majority of gun owners, including NRA members, supported some firearm ownership restrictions.
But wait, there’s got to be a catch – right? After all, this is a Frank Luntz’ survey. This is the same man who turned the innocuously titled “inheritance tax,” into the ominously phrased “death tax,” which was infinitely more effective at creating public disdain for the estate levy.
So, here’s the catch, the survey is worded in an idealistic fashion, with no mention of an actual piece of legislation that would ground the question in reality. In other words, there’s no indication of opportunity costs or the practical ramifications of what supporting some of these ideas would mean for gun owners.
The first question, for example, reads, “Support for 2nd Amendment rights goes hand-in-hand with keeping illegal guns out of the hands of criminals.” The survey then asks gun owners to “agree” or “disagree.”
On the premise alone, one could say, “Yeah, sure, I agree. We definitely need to prevent criminals from obtaining guns.”
But, if you know the MAIG agenda, then you know that’s not all they are asking here. Embedded in this question is the notion that in order to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, law-abiding gun owners need to sacrifice a healthy portion of their 2nd Amendment rights. Case in point, instead of having ‘shall issue’ concealed carry laws, citizens should give local municipalities discretion or ‘the final say’ over the CCW application process.
The other problem with this statement is the coded language, “illegal guns.” What the hell is an “illegal gun?” This is an obvious attempt by MAIG to criminalize the ownership of certain firearms. To put it another way, you may be a law-abiding citizen, but if you are in possession of an “illegal gun,” you are now a criminal. Subsequently, you must be deprived of your 2nd Amendment rights.
Also, in reading the survey, one will notice the words “common-sense” uttered about half-a-dozen times. As in, “Gun owners support common-sense standards for who should carry a concealed, loaded weapon in public” or “Gun owners support common-sense public safety measures to keep guns away from criminals.”
The absurd repetition of those words is clearly a ploy by MAIG, predicated on the specious belief that if you say something enough times, the public will eventually come around to believing it.
However, what’s interesting about the poll is the timing of its release. As mentioned, the survey was done in May. So, why did MAIG delay the release of it? Was this aggressive pro-gun control organization waiting for a tragedy, a mass shooting like the one in Colorado to release the results?
Well, based on the comments of Boston Mayor and MAIG member Thomas Menino, it’s a possibility.
“The best way to honor the memory of those who senselessly lost their lives in Aurora is to make it harder for this to ever happen again,” Menino said in a statement. “Our political leaders need to lead – and we demand they act now.”
It appears MAIG is politicizing the tragedy in Colorado to forward its gun control agenda, which is both sad and pathetic. But, it fits with the mantra of “Never let a serious crisis go to waste,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s famous quote (Emanuel is also a member of MAIG).
Personally, I think gun owners and gun control advocates probably could find some common ground on policy to keep guns out of the wrong hands. But when one side continues to pull political stunts to force its will on the other, it becomes very difficult for any real progress to be made.
(And no, the NRA isn’t innocent either, but it’s a false equivalency to compare the NRA with the likes of MAIG).