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Two hands, one giving the thumb's up, the other giving the thumb's down
Ten days ago, Daily Kos commissioned Public Policy Polling to field a poll on a variety of topics related to guns. One of the simplest questions we asked—just eight words long—was this:
Would you support or oppose banning assault weapons?
Even though our survey oversampled gun owners considerably, respondents said they favored such a ban by a broad 63-32 margin. Now, you might wonder if the people we polled know what exactly an assault weapon is, what a ban might cover, and whether such a ban would even be effective.

Those are all legitimate questions, but regardless of how well-informed our respondents might be, they stated a preference in response to a simple, clear question—and as we move forward, the public debate on this question will indeed generally be referred to, by politicians and the press, as "a ban on assault weapons." In other words, we framed our question to reflect the rubric people will hear when they tune into the news.

Contrast our approach with Gallup's, which also released some new data on gun issues. Here's their assault weapons question:

Are you for or against a law which would make it illegal to manufacture, sell or possess semiautomatic guns known as assault rifles?
By a 51-44 spread, Gallup's respondents oppose such a ban—which is actually a little tighter than the 53-43 against they found the last time they asked this question (in Oct. of 2011). No matter what, though, that's wildly different from the huge numbers PPP sees in favor of such a ban. So what gives?

Well, frankly, Gallup's question sucks. It's too long, too wordy, and too confusing. As I noted above, for decades, this public policy issue has been described—by supporters and opponents alike—as an assault weapons ban. Everyone knows what the word "ban" means. So why complicate things with legalistic phrasing like "illegal to manufacture, sell or possess"? Normal people don't talk that way. Hell, even abnormal people like Beltway pundits don't talk that way.

The final part of the question is problematic, too. Gallup wants the phrase "semiautomatic guns known as assault rifles" to be interpreted as "the sub-set of semiautomatic guns that encompasses assault rifles." That alone is too verbose and requires too much mental processing. Does it really help anyone to give this extended definition? Put another way: I can think of no good reason to not just say "assault rifles" and eliminate the part about "semiautomatic guns."

But it would also be all too easy for someone to come away with the impression that Gallup is saying "semiautomatic guns, which are also known as assault rifles." In response to that, you might think, "Hell no! 'Assault rifle' is not a synonym for 'semiautomatic gun!'" Or you might think, "Hmm. This proposal sounds way too broad. Now we're calling all semiautomatic guns 'assault rifles?'"

Oh, and one more thing: Why assault rifles? Again, it's always been referred to as an assault weapons ban. No one's ever talked about banning rifles or other long guns used for hunting, so if your mind happened to focus on the word "rifle" instead of "assault," you might think the questioner was asking whether hunting weapons should be made illegal.

Even if you think all these various chains of thought are ridiculous or stupid, well, it's just very easy for one human to misunderstand another—especially a stranger calling on the phone who's trying to get through an interview as quickly as possible. That's why pollsters should always strive for maximal simplicity when they ask questions. That's not always possible—sometimes you can't get useful data without first offering a bit of explanation—but even then, there are better ways to do so on this topic than the way Gallup did.

But I don't think extra verbiage is necessary at all here—as demonstrated by the fact that a mere five percent of respondents to PPP's question said they were undecided. "Assault weapons" is a phrase people have heard (and, lately, have heard all too often). And whether people have a perfect understanding of the matter or not, citizens are allowed to express their opinions. You could try to craft a question which offered more background on what an assault weapons ban might mean, but Gallup certainly didn't do that.

What they did, instead, is cloud the issue with a confusingly-worded question. If they'd adopted the phrasing we instructed PPP to use, I bet they'd find similar numbers to what we saw. And that's a broad majority in favor of a ban on assault weapons.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Gallup is paid (10+ / 0-)

      not to conduct polls but to take "contributions" as to what is the best wording to use given the "sponsors" predilections.  This has been known for some time now.  Like most corporations, they have found this alternate source of revenue quite lucrative.

      •  So, when Gallup reported that over 90% of those (5+ / 0-)

        sampled favored closing the gun show loophole, that was not objective?

        Personally, I'd like to see the rhetoric toned down.  I find it unusualy that a broad coalition of interests would seek to drive out gun-owning democrats.

        If you persist, it is likely some will become single-issue voters and vote against the progressive agenda in retaliation.  Believe me, I've heard that from more than a few people over the holidays.

        •  If there are "progressives" who are single-issue (5+ / 0-)

          voters about their gun fetish, they are not progressives.

          The whole point of the NRA social engineering on Daily Kos was to make it appear as if there are large numbers of "progressives" who are gun fetishists. In fact there are not, just a noisy few obvious operatives and sockpuppets.

          •  They may not have been as progressive as you (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ban nock, MPociask, deepbreath

            but please don't define others from your frame of reference.  That's inappropriate.

            Some folks have a hard time with one or two platform issues, but have bitten their tongues and gone along with the broader agenda.

            Discounting their value is not a good thing.

            •  Boris, Democrats generally have favored gun ... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              No10oX, Laconic Lib, Paulie200

              ... controls. Along with any other Progressive ideas.

              Gun control is a bundle of issues, in reality. Even so, I'm not a single issue anything, but some things must be done to limit the ready availability of guns and hi-cap magazines.

              Essentially, the Gun Advocates' argument is that we can't logically do anything because we can't do everything that will stop gun violence, except every thing that doesn't involve actual guns themselves.
              Yes, this is a loaded statement, but it does track pretty well with the outpouring of reasons not to touch guns, high-cap magazines, ammunition, licensing, publicized record keeping, ATF enforcement (by confirming a head of the agency), and the litany of alternative creative "solutions" Mr. LaPierre listed for us all.

              2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

              by TRPChicago on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 12:02:16 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  My husband is like this about guns. He is a (10+ / 0-)

            conservative democrat to be sure, but he would become a one issue voter if guns were to be banned.  I know this because he hasn't shut up about it in days and days.  Actually, I am very tired of hearing him complain about it.  

            I am a progressive gun owner.  I am still not 100 % sure how I feel about changes, as my leanings are far more left than my husband.  However, I love my sport, I want my rights to continue as far as the 2A goes, I want to be able to own and use guns and I would be completely unhappy, if that changed.  

            Would I become a one issue voter?....Hardly.  However, I won't deny I know people who would.

          •  Calling it a "fetish" isn't helpful. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FrankRose, Boris49, rockhound

            You may not think it fits your litmus test of what makes someone "progressive", but it's easy to see how someone could vote single issue if they think they're being screwed.

            We've made significant inroads out West, which wouldn't have happened if we had been spouting a gun control platform.

          •  Yes. Clearly, ITS A CONSPIRACY!!11 (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            After all, how could anyone have an opinion different than yours?
            I, myself have voted for Dems in every election (with the exception of Nader, in 2000) since I turned 18.
            Do you typically suggest Nader voters 'aren't progressive enough'?

            I simply do not believe in infringing on the Constitutional Rights of those that have done nothing wrong for perceived security.
            I didn't support infringing on the 4th amendment with Warrantless wiretaps.
            I didn't support infringing on Habeas Corpus with Gitmo.
            I didn't support infringing on the 8th with torture
            I don't support infringing on the 2nd.

            Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

            by FrankRose on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 02:07:04 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Wow thier guns capable of killing large numbers (7+ / 0-)

          of unarmed surprised people are that important? Since I no longer hunt I am getting rid of my hunting rifles including a totally unfired 300 magnum... really nice rifle and scope. But I am keeping my Remington shotguns and pistols  (45 & 380) though I would happily get rid of the 380 though at my age I wonder if the 45 wouldn't breaK my wrist... haven't gone out to firing range this year.

          I see there are all these people coming on freaking out over terms and seem to be defending the right to keep weapons that can be used to wage a one sided war on others who piss you off (kind of like the mindset that would vote for the regressives because some think they can't have every toy available) or because you have lost a job or you are high or ... What is it exactly that you want?

          I am not attacking you but I wonder what your agenda is. No gun registration or control at all? Unlimited access to any weapon because you like them? I see that you and a few others are coming into diaries to sneer at and insult others because they don't want to be in a store and get gunned down by someone armed well enough to take out large number of victims (unsuspecting, unarmed and no threat is what I call victims). So where do we meet in the middle? I want the right to keep weapons for self defense (as a last resort ) in my home. I am willing to have them regulated all the way requiring even yearly testing of my safety and requiring either locks or safe to protect them from being stolen or picked up by children.

          I too get pissed off at those who want to ban all guns. The reason I oppose that is two fold. First there are a lot of weapons out there and a ban would just stop later acquisitions. Second, I won't give up at least one because of prior experiences with invaders into my home who had all the advantages... But I think I could live with just a 8 shot shotgun. If they insist at coming at me it would do the job (we keep rock salt in first, pellets in second shells and slugs in last 4). But I really think if I had someone show up in my house with a hidden weapon I might shoot them because they would have the advantage of surprise and a weapon in hand if they had nefarious intentions. I wouldn't let an openly armed person (except a cop )into my house at all... geesh we don't live in the wild west.

          Not everyone wants to ban all weapons but to try to shut off any discussion because we are all so dumb and ignorant ignores the fact that you seem to want to let all the dumb and inogrant be weaponized to the max so that a percentage can go out in a blaze of death like some deranged pharoah taking lives with him into the afterlife. Each of us has a vested interest in the issue. Telling people thier interest is stupid because it is not yours does not allow people to get along. Sometimes the rhetoric gets hot and aggressive on every side. There is no valid claim to logic and dispassion because someone who threatens to vote for the other side on one issue is not dispassionate.  

          My biggest question is what is the intrinsic value of guns that is worth the collateral damage? And how can we reduce the death toll. So lets work on coming to some way  that we can increase the odds that it is only non passionate attachment to guns...not for purposes that are a passionate fear of losing the ability to kill others without reasons except your own mental or emotional state.

          Fear is the Mind Killer...

          by boophus on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 11:10:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm in favor of registration of all transfers and (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            No10oX, deepbreath, FrankRose, glorificus

            sales, much like California has imposed.  That is much stricter than the gunshow loophole elimination.

            As to AR's....I'm still on the fence.  We've had M-1's and it's iterations in the hands of civilians for many years without major problems.  I see no need for "tech 9's" and MP5's in the hands of anyone outside the military.  Police included.  I'd certainly like a ban on advertising AR-15's.  

            So, let's see the proposed legislation.  It might be something that I would support.  But a ban on all semi-autos, whether rifle or pistol, is doomed to failure and I couldn't get behind it.

            •  thank you for stating a position, Boris (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              I've been frustrated with all the noise. I do not agree with some of your posts, but it helps to understand your starting point.

              It's tiresome to be hectored and lectured to in the condescending tone used by gun owners who are treating everyone who disagrees with them as the enemy.

              FWIW, I am not for a total ban on private ownership of guns, but I do think that current regulations are not good enough - by design - and must be changed.

              And, though I do understand some of the details being argued to insignificance here on this thread, I agree that polls are most effective for taking a temperature when they are simple.

        •  I'm very pro-choice, but given 2 candidates, (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT, Boris49, gramofsam1, ConfusedSkyes

          one of whom is mildly pro-choice but otherwise awful and one who is anti-choice but great on all my other issues, I would very very reluctantly choose the latter.
          The same goes for gun control and regulation. I'm sure we're on the opposite side of this issue, but I have supported -- sent money even -- to candidates who oppose gun control because on just about every other issue I think they're good. (Lots of Dems in Western states are like that).
          I can't be a single-issue voter because there are far too many issues I care about.
          I would hope you have a broad enough view of what's important to make the same sort of choices, albeit reluctantly.

          We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

          by Tamar on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 11:18:04 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Dueling polls reflect the questions. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mogolori, frostbite

          But each question has a different purpose. They are part of a group of questions.  

          The whole poll could be valid, with the exception of the baited question(s).

          Those are built to trigger set responses within specific demographics.  

          Boris49 can honestly quote the polled answer to a different, unbaited question.  It gives Gallup cover and hides the bait.

          illegal to manufacture, sell or possess semiautomatic guns known as assault rifles?This is a weasel word delight.   It gives them a poll they can tag to all those words.  

          The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honored and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage laborers. - The Communist Manifesto

          by nolagrl on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 12:13:33 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Gallup's ridiculous question is no accident. (0+ / 0-)

            This is the best known and most venerable polling organization in the United States.  The tortured wording of this question would not survive Week One of Intro to Writing at a single undergraduate journalism program in the country.

            So one has to ask: are high schoolers writing Gallup's questions on the most fraught and sensitive national questions of the day?


            Are highly cynical public relations professionals crafting Gallup's questions specifically to garner the least negative opinion possible on gun ownership, perhaps because the NRA is a client of the Gallup organization?

            Gallup is having difficulty holding onto good clients these days.  The Justice Department, for instance, is suing Gallup for over-billing government contracts to the tune of millions of dollars.

            So, in Gallup, we may be dealing with a criminal enterprise anyway.  It's no stretch to consider they would throw professional credibility out the window to please a paying client like the NRA on a question affecting its reputation.

            "And now we know that government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob." -- FDR

            by Mogolori on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 12:34:29 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Gee, if it's illegal to manufacture assault rifles (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JSW from WA, ConfusedSkyes

      wouldn't our military would have to buy their weapons from Russia or the Taliban? So my uncle Leonard would answer no to the Gallup question. Just saying!

  •  Um.... (16+ / 0-)
    Well, frankly, Gallup's question sucks. It's too long, too wordy, and too confusing.
    No, it doesn't. It's less emotionally-driven and far more accurate.
    I love this place, but it pisses me off sometimes. I wish y'all wouldn't piss on my leg and tell me it's raining.
  •  I hear that Gallup (11+ / 0-)

    is using a new likely gun owner screen, so it might take a while for those numbers to settle down.

  •  Thanks (4+ / 0-)

    Reminds of the difference between asking..."do you beleive in the creationism" vs "do you beleive the earth was created as described in the bible" (paraphrasing here).  Much higher agreement if you add the word bible to the question.

    "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

    by Empty Vessel on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 09:52:17 AM PST

  •  Gallup is are was were a joke (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    litho, karmsy, Laurence Lewis


    Barack Obama for President

    by looty on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 09:54:17 AM PST

  •  The problem with the PPP question... (11+ / 0-)

    ... is that people may not know what's meant by assault weapon.  The gallup question attempts to address that issue, albeit poorly.  

    I seriously doubt that a majority of respondents could recite the definition from the AWB.  Neither poll tells us what the political reality on the ground will be if Washington turns serious attention to the issue of gun control.  

  •  very important topic - the way poll questions (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leu2500, notrouble

    are worded.  too often the media ignores this. they summarize the actual question into a soundbite and compare polls that are actually asking different questions.

    The way a question is framed and worded will impact the outcome, as demonstrated here.

  •  Everyone knows that the military uses (17+ / 0-)

    assault rifles. If you ask if the manufacture of assault rifles should be banned, many people would think you were asking about disarming the military.

    I don't think anyone is talking about a complete ban on the manufacture of assault rifles. Just a ban on selling them into the civilian market. Gallup's question is way too broad.

    •  Right (11+ / 0-)

      I, too, would have answered no to Gallup for this reason.  A ban on the manufacture for legitimate military use?  No, the Gallup question sucks.

      Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.

      by winsock on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 10:01:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yep (9+ / 0-)

      I had that thought, too, re manufacture, but I felt my post was already long enough and didn't want to delve further down the rabbit hole.

      I suspect that if we had asked something like, "Would you support or oppose banning the sale of assault weapons to civillians?" we'd have seen even higher support.

      Political Director, Daily Kos

      by David Nir on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 10:16:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Could you define assault weapon? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        winsock, ban nock, Bailey2001, rockhound

        From speaking to those I know who AREN'T fellow gun nuts, most think they're FULL AUTO or burst fire (They're just like the guns the military uses!)

        If you're using a term that is not understood correctly, aren't you getting flawed results?

        Republicans cause more damage than guns ever will. Share Our Wealth

        by KVoimakas on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 10:19:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I found (5+ / 0-)

          Mark Sumner's primer on guns to be extremely helpful.

          Political Director, Daily Kos

          by David Nir on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 10:25:02 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yep. (4+ / 0-)

            I agree.

            How many people read that diary? How many of the American public or even just those polled actually know what an assault weapon (as defined by the AWB) is?

            Republicans cause more damage than guns ever will. Share Our Wealth

            by KVoimakas on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 10:27:27 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Probably few (8+ / 0-)

              But as I tried to get at in the post, I think you run into some serious difficulties if you try to explain things in detail in poll questions. Put another way: Even if you don't like PPP's question (and I understand the arguments against it), I still think Gallup's question is terrible.

              That said, I think it would be interesting to conduct a focus group, where you have more time to really get in-depth and offer various sorts of explanations and see how people react.

              Political Director, Daily Kos

              by David Nir on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 10:31:28 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Then don't ask the question David. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                If it can't be done properly, it isn't worth doing.

              •  i would also (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                annieli, mike101

                like to see demographic breakdowns. a poll of latinos showed higher support for gun control than among whites, but there hasn't been any follow-up. the 2008 exit polls showed gun ownership is relatively low among latinos and even lower among asian-americans. i would like to see some specific questions about gun control filtered by demographics, because it seems to me that if the two fastest growing demographic groups have low gun ownership, and the only one polled has been shown to have higher support for gun control, it's likely that we're moving toward significant political change on the issue.

                there also has been a lot of push from the gun owners that gun ownership is a civil or human right, and i'd like to see that polled. we know that majorities consider gun ownership to be a constitutional right, which it is thanks to heller and mcdonald, but do people also consider it a basic civil or human right? of course, around the developed world that would be considered absurd, but i wonder about americans.

                The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                by Laurence Lewis on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 11:00:18 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Not sure about Gallup (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Laurence Lewis, Meteor Blades

                  But we included the usual demographic breakdowns for our poll. The problem is, though, that with a 1,000-person poll, all racial groups except whites will have a very low sample size. So on the AWB question, Hispanics were 56-32 in favor (lower than other groups), but we had just 78 people self-ID as Hispanic in our sample. It's very expensive to poll just Hispanic voters.

                  Political Director, Daily Kos

                  by David Nir on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 11:21:38 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  for this question (0+ / 0-)

                    it might be worth it- asian-americans as well. as a fan of the living constitution, i'm very interested in how demographic shifts are going to effect this issue.

                    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                    by Laurence Lewis on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 11:27:59 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I wonder, in this regard, how much difference... (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Laurence Lewis

                      ...there would be depending on how many generations the Latinos and Asian Americans being polled have  been in the States. Most of them come from countries where guns are illegal in private hands, or nearly so. If you're first or second-generation, you might well be more inclined one way or the other differently than if you are of a third or later generation. But try to get that differentiation into a simple poll.

                      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

                      by Meteor Blades on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 12:05:32 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  it could be done (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Meteor Blades

                        although it would not be easy. but a truly comprehensive poll on gun ownership hasn't been done. given the magnitude of the issue, it should be.

                        i'm skeptical that there would be significant generational differences, because people do tend to follow their family and cultural patterns, and the percent of gun owners overall is going down. but it would be worth knowing.

                        The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                        by Laurence Lewis on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 12:29:01 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

  •  Difference: retroactive ban (0+ / 0-)

    PPP's question might suggest a going-forward ban, but Gallup's suggests a full ban including a requirement for existing owners to turn in their semi-automatic guns. That likely accounts for the difference in polling results.

    I think a ban would only work well if it was retroactive, but many people seem to disagree.

    •  Also: "assault" vs. "semi-automatic" (4+ / 0-)

      Who is in favor of civilians owning "assault rifles"? Not a majority, it would seem. Semi-automatic weapons is less of a clear thing. Many handguns with small magazines are semi-automatic and a person might take the position that they need the ability to take a few rapid shots for self-defense with their handgun, but an AR-15 with 30 rounds per clip or a 100 round drum is excessive for civilian use.

      Thinking about it a little more this is likely an even bigger issue for people than a retroactive ban.

      •  You nailed it. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KVoimakas, rockhound, Jaime Schulte

        That's what I said higher up.

        If you say "Assault Weapon" it evokes a certain image.

        You say Semi Automatic Assault weapon then a lot of people have semi automatic guns and think they might fall under that category and say no.

      •  Most people I know do not know the difference... (9+ / 0-)

        ...between automatic and semi-automatic when it comes to guns. As for the retroactive ban, I agree with you. The reason the last ban didn't work was because it grandfathered in the guns that were already owned (instead of doing a mandatory buyback) and it allowed already manufactured high-capacity magazines (of which there were millions) to continue to be sold retail and resold by their owners. If we're going to have a ban, it has to be real.

        Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

        by Meteor Blades on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 10:56:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I just don't think a mandatory buyback would work (0+ / 0-)

          here.....especially if we are talking a broader version of the first ban.

            For one, the incredible amount of money it would take to buy that many weapons.  For two, the same guns would be worth more on the streets as soon as the ban happened.  For three, law abiding people would want to keep their guns would hide them, bury them, or whatever and certainly criminals would all keep theirs.

          •  Then those people who expect .... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nominalize, Bailey2001, Jaime Schulte

            ...Australia- or Britain-like results will be sorely disappointed by a repeat of the ban like the 1994 ban.

            Because there will be millions of these firearms circulating, being stolen and, occasionally, being used.

            Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

            by Meteor Blades on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 12:33:13 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  On the question of a buyback... (0+ / 0-)

            ...I've seen numbers around 3 million for the number of AR-15s in circulation. They appear to range in price from about $600 used to $2,000 new. Supposing the average rifle, nearly all of them used to some extent, is worth $1200. If every one of them was turned in for that price (not going to happen as you point out) the buyback program would cost $3.6 billion. That's barely a footnote to an appropriations bill in Washington. Even if you bought them back at a huge markup to undercut the black market...say triple the value at $3600 it's "only" $10.8 billion. If this was extended to ALL semi-automatics the cost would get pretty staggering, yes.

            Some people would hide theirs. Others would sell them on the street for higher prices. Many would take the money though. The number of mentally ill people with access to legal semi-automatics would be reduced.

            •  4 million in civilian hands...just those and not (0+ / 0-)

              including variations.  The moment a ban is breathed they would be worth much, much more....that the current grand in good used condition.  

              With people who love guns and would be like trying to ban cigarettes from heavy smokers.   They wouldn't take a million for the last carton they might get their hands on....and/or hoard them for the newly created market for them.

              If you extend the ban to include almost all would be staggering,as you say.   The black market and underground market would turn into a nightmare very quickly.

              •  Nightmare perhaps (0+ / 0-)

                The market is fairly saturated though. Everyone who wants a semi-auto has one already, for the most part. You would see some hoarding of them since going down to the local Dick's to buy another wouldn't be an option. So existing owners would possibly buy more of them on the black/underground market. I doubt we'd see them ending up in many new hands though.

                Getting ammunition might become an issue for many owners eventually. You couldn't take it to the range, so you'd need a very remote location if you wanted to shoot it. Buying ammo online and through a black market would happen, but online can be policed to a considerable extent and not everyone would have connections to the black markets. I'm not knowledgeable enough to know, but assume that ammo for semi-auto guns could also be used in non-semi-autos. Still, if possession of certain guns/ammo was criminalized it would at least eventually cause most people to turn them in. Owning something you can never use isn't that much fun. You wouldn't even want to show it to anyone but your closest friends/family. It would make sense to have a couple amnesty periods after the ban took effect and people had time to realize hiding them was pointless and could eventually land them in jail. Some people would continue to hide them forever, but the hidden stash wouldn't be as likely to fall into the wrong hands as guns kept in the regular gun safe or just around the house.

  •  Connotations are- Rifle=hunting...Weapon=killing (4+ / 0-)
    Oh, and one more thing: Why assault rifles? Again, it's always been referred to as an assault weapons ban. No one's ever talked about banning rifles or other long guns used for hunting, so if your mind happened to focus on the word "rifle" instead of "assault," you might think the questioner was asking whether hunting weapons should be made illegal.
    I think you are spot on.
  •  Semi-autos are by definition not assault rifles. (5+ / 0-)

    Assault rifles are select fire (full auto or burst).

    Republicans cause more damage than guns ever will. Share Our Wealth

    by KVoimakas on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 10:00:02 AM PST

    •  Did the 1994 Assualt Weapons Ban (3+ / 0-)

      Not ban weapons that were semi-automatic?  You may have your preferred definition, but by the mere title of the original AWB, it ain't the definition used legally or popularly.

      "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

      by Empty Vessel on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 10:02:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There's Actually A Distinction Between (9+ / 0-)

        "Assault Weapons" (which may include Semi-Autos) and "Assault Rifles" (which are typically fully automatic)

        That said, I seriously doubt the people answering the question knew that.

        Too Folk For You. - Schmidting in the Punch Bowl - verb - Committing an unexpected and underhanded political act intended to "spoil the party."

        by TooFolkGR on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 10:04:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  assault weapon vs assault rifle (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KVoimakas, ban nock

        different terms

        "I'm a progressive man and I like progressive people" Peter Tosh

        by Texas Lefty on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 10:04:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The AR-15 (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        annieli, KVoimakas, ban nock

        for example, can be -- and is -- marketed as a "sport utillity rifle."  I'll admit that I am pretty fuzzy about what the term "assault" indicates.

        Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.

        by winsock on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 10:08:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  But the one used in the Sandy Hook murders (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        winsock, KVoimakas, deepbreath, ban nock

        was not an assault weapon according to the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. Definitions are important.

        A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. Franklin D. Roosevelt

        by notrouble on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 10:27:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Meteor Blades, Laconic Lib

          The AR-15 was specifically banned in the law, along with several other weapons, whether or not they fit the other (mostly stupid) criteria.

          "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

          by Empty Vessel on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 10:35:58 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Maybe... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Colt made some changes to the AR-15 and called it the Match Target Rifle. The MT6400 is often referred to as an AR-15 but was produced to specifically be legal under the ban. The ban called out Colt brand AR-15s and identical firearms. Of course, a pre-ban AR-15 would also have remained in circulation under the expired ban.

            The exact model of Bushmaster AR-15 used has not been released to my knowledge. If the AR-15 used had none of the features of an assault weapon under the ban (as has been reported) then I strongly suspect it was one built to comply with the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban.

            A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. Franklin D. Roosevelt

            by notrouble on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 12:20:02 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Excerpt from the text of the ban: (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Glen The Plumber
          title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the
          following new paragraph:
          `(30) The term `semiautomatic assault weapon' means--
          `(A) any of the firearms, or copies or duplicates of the
          firearms in any caliber, known as--
          `(i) Norinco, Mitchell, and Poly Technologies Avtomat
          Kalashnikovs (all models);
          `(ii) Action Arms Israeli Military Industries UZI and
          `(iii) Beretta Ar70 (SC-70);
          `(iv) Colt AR-15;
          `(v) Fabrique National FN/FAL, FN/LAR, and FNC;
          `(vi) SWD M-10, M-11, M-11/9, and M-12;
          `(vii) Steyr AUG;
          `(viii) INTRATEC TEC-9, TEC-DC9 and TEC-22; and
          `(ix) revolving cylinder shotguns, such as (or similar
          to) the Street Sweeper and Striker 12;
          `(B) a semiautomatic rifle that has an ability to accept a
          detachable magazine and has at least 2 of--
          `(i) a folding or telescoping stock;
          `(ii) a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath
          the action of the weapon;
          `(iii) a bayonet mount;
          `(iv) a flash suppressor or threaded barrel designed to
          accommodate a flash suppressor; and
          `(v) a grenade launcher;
          `(C) a semiautomatic pistol that has an ability to accept a
          detachable magazine and has at least 2 of--
          `(i) an ammunition magazine that attaches to the pistol
          outside of the pistol grip;
          `(ii) a threaded barrel capable of accepting a barrel
          extender, flash suppressor, forward handgrip, or silencer;
          `(iii) a shroud that is attached to, or partially or
          completely encircles, the barrel and that permits the
          shooter to hold the firearm with the nontrigger hand
          without being burned;
          `(iv) a manufactured weight of 50 ounces or more when the
          pistol is unloaded; and
          `(v) a semiautomatic version of an automatic firearm; and
          `(D) a semiautomatic shotgun that has at least 2 of--
          `(i) a folding or telescoping stock;
          `(ii) a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath
          the action of the weapon;
          `(iii) a fixed magazine capacity in excess of 5 rounds; and
          `(iv) an ability to accept a detachable magazine.'.
          My bold.

          The rifle used at Sandy Hook would have been banned if the law had not expired.

          Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

          by Meteor Blades on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 12:14:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The Sandy Hook murder used a Bushmaster AR-15 (0+ / 0-)

            right? Colt is called out by name. Nearly copies by other manufacturers that complied with the other requirements remained legal.

            I don't think that regulating guns by model will ever prove to be that useful. If regulations are to be changed they need to specify features that are restricted or prohibited.

            I think you forgot your bold, but I suspect you intended "(iv) Colt AR-15;"

            A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. Franklin D. Roosevelt

            by notrouble on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 12:34:26 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I did forget the bold... (0+ / 0-)

              ...but this was the sentence:

              (B) a semiautomatic rifle that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least 2 of--
              Models of the Bushmaster AR-15  include:

              Telescoping stock
              pistol grip
              threaded barrel
              bayonet mount

              Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

              by Meteor Blades on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 12:49:09 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  No (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KVoimakas, Boris49

        Empty Vessel,

        the 94 ban banned CERTAIN semi autos. There are many hunting rifles and sporting guns that are also semi auto.

    •  Apples, which are also known as Oranges... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KVoimakas, winsock, gramofsam1

      Besides the direct misinformation relayed in the question,

      my biggest issue with it was "illegal to...possess."

      Is anyone talking about making it illegal to own the weapons people already have?  

      The way they phrase it, sounds like we're going to start searching people's homes for their stuff.  

      I'd be against that as well.

  •  My first gunpowder gun was a .22 short, bolt (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KVoimakas, notrouble, Boris49, ban nock

    action rifle. I graduated to a .22 long semiautomatic rifle. Would load up with 10-12 cartridges in the gun, and shoot at rabbits every time I pulled the trigger. That gun could certainly look like an assault rifle to many people. To my dad, it was one of the safest weapons to let a 15 year old handle on his own.

    The question was definitely rigged.

    “I’m able to fly, do what I want, essentially. I guess that’s what freedom is — no limits.” Marybeth Onyeukwu -- Brooklyn DREAMer.

    by chuco35 on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 10:00:43 AM PST

  •  The problem is the term assault weapon (7+ / 0-)

    Some people think they're automatics, some people think they're semiautomatics, and some people think they're both.  Wouldn't it be appropriate to give a single description of an assault weapon when asking the question?

    "I'm a progressive man and I like progressive people" Peter Tosh

    by Texas Lefty on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 10:00:57 AM PST

  •  Perhaps the Word Manufacture Contributed? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    litho, leu2500, gramofsam1, Laurence Lewis

    If it were illegal to manufacture them, the armed forces couldn't have them either...?

    Too Folk For You. - Schmidting in the Punch Bowl - verb - Committing an unexpected and underhanded political act intended to "spoil the party."

    by TooFolkGR on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 10:01:53 AM PST

  •  Gallup sucks (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xgy2, bluegrass50, leu2500, MPociask

    During the campaign PRI's Marketplace ran a weekly segment interviewing Frank Newport on the latest polling.  Even after the election, Newport refused to acknowledge his own polling failed spectacularly to predict the outcome of the election, and he continued to spin wide polling in favor a tax hike on incomes over $200,000 as a willingness "to raise other people's taxes."

    It's not that he doesn't get the public mood; he has an active position in favor of one side of the partisan debate, and he massages his data in order to produce results favorable to his side.

    I'm convinced.  I thought so even before this ridiculous assault weapons question, and I think so even more strongly today.

    When the union's inspiration /Through the workers' blood shall run /There can be no power greater /Anywhere beneath the sun /Solidarity Forever!

    by litho on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 10:02:20 AM PST

  •  It doesn't matter how accurate or inaccurate (4+ / 0-)

    the question is, if it is easily misinterpreted.

    Gallup's question reminds me of a ballot initiative, which is worded in a way that a vote "for" is really a vote "against", and vice versa.
    Basically they are asking if one is for or against something that is against something else.

    Buy Aldus Shrugged : The Antidote to Ayn Rand, and tear Ayn and the GOP new orifices. ALL ROYALTIES BETWEEN NOW AND JANUARY 31, DONATED TO THIS SITE, DAILYKOS!! @floydbluealdus1

    by Floyd Blue on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 10:02:41 AM PST

  •  Rifles Make You Think Of Davy Crockett and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Daniel Boone. No good merican would want to ban those.  

  •  Insanity Gallup(s) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Like they've changed their methods since the election...

    As the Elites Come Together to Rise Above to Find a Third Way to do Rude things to the 99%

    by JML9999 on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 10:04:00 AM PST

  •  Gallup isn't a reputable polling firm. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    litho, xgy2, No10oX

    We saw that clearly during the election. I have noted the side-line business Gallup runs, designing multiple-choice "personality" tests that weed people who aren't authority-worshiping puppets, out of certain occupations (shoddy election polling isn't their only pursuit, unfortunately).

    I look forward to the public losing respect for Gallup, and marginalizing them. I think it'll happen, too.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 10:04:17 AM PST

  •  I hate both of the questions (7+ / 0-)

    As there is no actual definition of what constitutes an "assault rifle", then asking things like this is a lot of spitting into the wind.  I have virtually no hope that we are going to end up having any kind of substantive discussion in this country concerning the whole gun issue.  Asking questions in the manner posed above is a lot like asking people if something they are watching is porn.  It's so subjective as to be worthless to try and debate with so little context available.  It seems like everyone is just hellbent on goring the other guy's ox, and not really talking about things in manner in which we might actually achieve some definitive progress.

  •  Same problem Gallup always has (0+ / 0-)

    Questions are long, and often part of long polls that don't count unless the respondent stays on the line.

    They've been so wrong so long and so consistently you have to think it has to be deliberate.

  •  Caught a rerun of Anderson Cooper's show (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the other day in which he cited a Gallup poll as evidence Romney was doing really well.

    Aaaah, those were the days.

  •  To be frank, your question is terrible. (6+ / 0-)

    It's not specific at all.  You don't provide a clue as to what an "assault rifle" is, and you call it a "weapon" in the wake of an attack on school children.  What did you expect?  

    Ask this one:

    Do you support making it illegal for a private citizen to own any rifle that is capable of firing more than ten shots without reloading?

    Don't mention "folding stocks, banana clips or flash suppessors" and see how much support that question garners.   Very little, I'll bet.  

    What I have defined is what a lot of people are suggesting we do.   That will never happen.   People will always own "rifles that are capable of firing more than ten shots without reloading" and, on occasion, some idiots will use them to kill people.  

    Why doesn't that happen in Switzerland, where every able bodied adult male owns a military grade rifle?   That's the question we need to be asking.  

    Intolerance betrays want of faith in one's cause. - Gandhi

    by SpamNunn on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 10:08:13 AM PST

  •  Come on you have to trust Gallup, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JBL55, implicate order, nominalize

    just ask President Romney.

    There is no such thing as an off year election. Every election effects each other. We need to work as hard in 2014 as we did in 2012.

    by pollbuster on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 10:09:43 AM PST

  •  Gallup, guns (0+ / 0-)

    Well, Gallup managed to be wildly inaccurate in its predictions about the election, too- repeatedly overestimating Romney's chances of winning. Please sign and share this petition!

  •  And the question raised by the graphic (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DSPS owl

    is why the up or down decision is made by white men in light blue suits who - by the look of it - have never done a day's work with their hands ;)

    We all understand that freedom isn't free. What Romney and Ryan don't understand is that neither is opportunity. We have to invest in it.
    Julian Castro, DNC 4 Sept 2012

    by pixxer on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 10:12:16 AM PST

  •  And how does President Romney feel.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jakewaters, Laconic Lib

    ...about an assault weapons ban.   Gallup said he was overwhelmingly elected, right?

  •  No one killed with a Bushmaster yesterday. (0+ / 0-)

    And the media is reporting it in just those terms.

    Someone did get pushed in front of a train in NYC.  

  •  Or, maybe, YOUR question sucks. (7+ / 0-)
    Would you support or oppose banning assault weapons?
    There is massive confusion, especially among non-owners, over what an "assault weapon" is; and many of the people asked will believe that the question is about fully automatic weapons, colloquially - if incorrectly - known as machine guns. Their prevalence in fictional TV & movies leads many to believe they are widely available, which they are not, as they are already tightly controlled under the NFA.

    More people will believe that things they think will spray bullets like a machine gun should be banned than will if they realize you're just talking about their lookalikes.

    Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

    by Robobagpiper on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 10:26:59 AM PST

    •  Therr is no other way to (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wynter, salamanderempress

      ask the question without creating noise through bias.

      •  Which is exactly what Gallup did. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Armando, mike101

        When you are polling you keep things simple, Yes or No.

        When you are writing Legislation, you then add details, definitions, limitations, time periods, extensions, waivers, exceptions, and definitions.

        Polls are not Legislation. They are just there to get the temperature in the room. If you add too much information then you tend to lose the person polled. Each word you speak can lose the person. It could be that they HATE the word BAN. Or maybe LOVE the term LIMIT. You need to refrain from having too many words in your question to limit the damage that will end up in your results.

        It's just common sense.

        Did you try to talk to your relatives over Holiday Dinner? When you picked up a dangerous line of discussion did you OFFER A LONG DESCRIPTION of what you thought? Or did you keep it brief so that your words would not unintentionally set the room on fire?

        "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately." -- George Carlin, Satirical Comic,(1937-2008)

        by Wynter on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 11:07:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Are you for or against (0+ / 0-)

      banning certain weapons that are on an arbitrary list of firearms yet to be determined?

      Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.

      by winsock on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 11:04:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  When are the Responsible gun owners (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    No10oX, salamanderempress, mike101

    going to become proactive on gun control?
    When every move in the direction of getting a handle on the epidemic of violence is denied by "responsible" gun owners, guns continue to get into the hands of irresponsible gun owners and people are getting slaughtered as a result.
    When are you going to step up to the responsibility for your hobby? You don't want non-gun owners to write the rules, then you must cooperate and should be in the lead, not doing everything in your power to prevent responsible gun control.
    (And that includes shutting down or deflecting discussion at EVERY opportunity.)

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 10:29:57 AM PST

  •  "... or possess" is what makes Gallup Q so poor (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bluegrass50, MPociask

    Any ban on assault weapons that could pass, would almost surely not make it illegal to possess an already owned such weapon.

    The fear among the nuttier of the gun-owing crowd of seizure of such weapons is what skewed the results on the poll.  The question played to right wing myths about weapon seizures desired by the govmint.

  •  The corporate media will keep at it till... (0+ / 0-)

    The numbers favor their master(S)

    Evidence that contradicts the ruling belief system is held to extraordinary standards, while evidence that entrenches it is uncritically accepted. -Carl Sagan

    by RF on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 10:34:46 AM PST

  •  I knew that Gallup poll was skewed. I'm starting (0+ / 0-)

    to wonder about their TV polling.

    48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam> "It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness." Edna St.V. Millay

    by slouching on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 10:37:45 AM PST

  •  Try sorting out (5+ / 0-)

    the people who thought the PPP question was about machine guns.

    There there are the people who assumed you meant the Brady Bill ban, which does not cover machine guns, in favor of guns made using black plastic* and equipped with a bayonet lug.

    *Yes, there were several of these that ceased to be illegal if the black plastic was replaced with hot pink plastic...which you could buy.

    We can have change for the better.

    by phillies on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 10:44:16 AM PST

  •  I thought the same way about it... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bluegrass50, Laconic Lib

    Why are we trusting a polling outfit that couldn't even get the election right anyways?

    Confusing questions like Gallup's always trick people. If you have to think more than five or six words into the question whether a yes means for or a no means against then you lost the person you were polling. So that was Yes I am For Not Banning or No I am Against Banning?

    And their control question of asking people if they wanted ALL guns banned probably just ticked alot of people off. I wonder if they asked that one first or last?

    All in all I agree simple is better. If the person asked doesn't understand the question you also need to provide background on the question. Like what is covered by the term Assault Weapons? Are you talking about police as well? What size of clips are too large? And do you mean manufacture AND import as well? What about arms from other countries? Does my WWII cannon outside count as an Assault Weapon?

    You get my drift.

    "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately." -- George Carlin, Satirical Comic,(1937-2008)

    by Wynter on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 10:48:20 AM PST

    •  Kestrel... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jakewaters, bluegrass50, Laconic Lib

      Wow. And I thought he just gave me a "comment headache" earlier when I posted about this Gallup poll being screwy.

      To respond to Kestrel...
      Your dislike over anything NOT Gallup is noted. But the fact still stands that Gallup's question was too confusing and inflammatory on the PRO-GUN side. It wasn't unemotional. It was very emotional if you worry about some guvmint official coming into your home and taking all your guns. And it was very broad in that you could get the impression that ALL guns whether they were semi-auto or not were on the table for banning.

      IMHO, you need to either A). get a checkup for that high blood pressure of yours. or B). realize when you lost the argument and move on. Because the simple PPP question was far more concise and clear to almost any person polled. Confusing the matter with legalese just makes people want to say NO just to get you off the phone.

      "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately." -- George Carlin, Satirical Comic,(1937-2008)

      by Wynter on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 10:58:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well, what does Nate Silver say? (0+ / 0-)

    that's all that really matters, right?

  •  Much bigger differences that you missed (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jakewaters, bluegrass50, deepbreath

    Gallup asked "Are you for or against a law which would make it illegal to manufacture, sell or possess semiautomatic guns known as assault rifles?"

    about "guns" .  Anyone who stopped listening at that point would have read their question is asking about pistols as well as rifles.  Handgun illegalization appears to be massively unpopular.

    Also, Gallup asked about "possess", meaning that if you already had one it would become illegal, which is far more radical than the assault weapons bans, which do not cover possession.

    Someday, try asking

     "Are you for or against a law which would make it illegal to sell semiautomatic rifles?"

    By the way, "manufacture" has some interesting issues, notably that in the long run it disarms the military.

    We can have change for the better.

    by phillies on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 10:57:07 AM PST

  •  the Gallup question uses the word 'gun' (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bluegrass50, PorridgeGun

    which people tend to think of as handguns and the word 'rifle' which sounds like what a rancher uses.

    It is the word 'assault' (missing from Gallup) in the popular lexicon which describes what is actually in debate.

    •  But this is the point (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      What makes it an 'assault' rifle?

      Is it the fact that it looks menacing? I'd say no (you don't need a flash suppressor to kill a lot of people).  Is it the fact that it can take 30 round magazines? Most guns that can take a magazine can take an extended magazine.  Is it the fact that it can fire multiple rounds with each trigger pull in a short amount of time?  Again, most rifles can do that.

      An assault weapon by definition is something you use to go kill people with.  Military rifles fall under this definition, and as such are outlawed to the general public.  Military-light, semi-automatic rifles are similar enough to today's hunting rifles that I'd argue no real line exists between the two.

  •  Gallup Is An Arm of The GOP And Has Been For Years (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'll never forget the poll they did when we first invaded Iraq, finding a significant portion of Iraqi's supported the invasion.

    Yes, they conducted a poll during the invasion, somehow, put their name on it and published it as valid results.  I tried and tried to find some indication of their methodology for that poll. It was not forthcoming.

    Tells you all you need to know.

    This post is dedicated to myself, without whom, I'd be somebody else. Though I'd still be an asshole. My Music: []

    by Beetwasher on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 11:14:06 AM PST

  •  one of the most fundamental rules for (0+ / 0-)

    writing poll or survey questions is to ask a single question at a time.

    The Gallup poll asks three questions (do you support the ban of manufacture, sale, or possession).  So if I support one or two of the three do I answer yes?  

  •  A few of us noted the same thing (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ban nock, MPociask, FrankRose

    ... you are talking about now, back when you commissioned your polling.  Word choice is often the difference between what the end polling numbers are.

    I can think of no good reason to not just say "assault rifles" and eliminate the part about "semiautomatic guns."
    The same could be said of "assault weapons" vs. "assault rifles" vs. "semiautomatic rifles".  All three phrases very often mean exactly the same thing, but the perception is such that, one sounds less harmful/menacing then the other.  And if you don't think pollsters think about wording when they design these, then you are ill informed.

    The "good reason" is obvious.  They wanted to affect the results of the poll.

    Your argument regarding the length of the question and the detail it goes into is in a similar light.  "Ban it."  Short, sweet, and you can slap it on a bumper sticker.  But when people think about it, think that the government would make it "illegal to manufacture, sell, or possess" something, things tend to cool off rather quickly.

    As far as claiming the high ground because you use 'assault weapons ban' terminology, it was that terminology that doomed the first assault weapons ban in the first place: because what was needed wasn't an 'assault weapons ban' ... it was a "semiautomatic rifle ban".

    If you are wondering what the difference between the two is, you now know: about 10% of the vote.

  •  Why are you surprised? See my sig... (0+ / 0-)

    NEW PALINDROMIC METAPHOR MEANING TO MAKE A PREDICTION THAT IS ASTOUNDINGLY OFF TARGET: "Pull a Gallup!" As in: "The weatherman said yesterday would be sunny and mild, but we got a foot of snow! Boy, did he pull a Gallup!"

    by Obama Amabo on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 11:21:58 AM PST

  •  I do not like the PPP Question (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KVoimakas, ban nock, Jon Says, FrankRose

    I think I am with Kestrel et. al. on this one.  Gallup asks the more accurate and less loaded question and describes specific types of firearms.  The PPP question uses "assault weapon" which is an undefined, pejorative term.  I am not surprised at the discrepancy.  

  •  One other point. Gallup uses "own" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in its question. That makes the question very different. I know of no proposal that would make it illegal for someone to own a weapon that was already legally purchased. All the banning bills are prospective. They prohibit future manufacture and sale. Gullup's question suggests that guns will be taken away from people.

    Further, affiant sayeth not.

    by Gary Norton on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 11:37:01 AM PST

  •  weapons geniuses (0+ / 0-)

    There seems to be many gun owners who feel they have a lock on gun control logic. Unfortunately for them, what they have are dangerously illogical talking points.
    The talking point we hear most often is, “more guns in the hands of more people will make the country safer.” If that is the case, would more nukes in the arsenals of more countries make the world safer?
    Much of the “free” world almost ceased to exist with only two superpowers in possession of nukes due to close calls during the height of the cold war. To this day we seek to keep nukes and other WMD’s out of the control of rogue nations and other groups of fanatics due to the almost certain carnage that would ensue if any old entity were allowed to posses such weapons.
    Given the danger of that scale of weapons proliferation, how could arming every person with AR-15’s or equivalent be the answer?

  •  Another problem with the Gallup wording (0+ / 0-)

    is that if one is against Assault Weapons, he must answer that he is for the law.  Just saying "Against" puts a respondant in the pro-assault weapons collumn.  

    Those who wrote this question are not stupid.  It's fair to guess that they got the results they were paid to get.

    "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

    by Subterranean on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 11:47:03 AM PST

  •  Wording? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ban nock, BleacherBum153, FrankRose
    What they did, instead, is cloud the issue with a confusingly-worded question.
    The Gallup question is only confusingly worded if you are unfamiliar with guns. If you are familiar with guns, it is the PPP question that is vague to the point of uselessness.

    Is an "assault weapon" the fully automatic rifle like our soldiers use and which is more or less unavailable to civilians already, or the semi-auto look-alike that civilians can own, but which is sometimes called an "assault weapon"?

    As someone who does understand the difference, I find the PPP question useless and the Gallup one quite clear.

  •  After Gallup's dismall Presidential polling... (0+ / 0-)

    are we really going to take anything Gallup does serious anymore?  They showed their true colors during the election, and at best those colors are incompetence in worst they are partisan outfit like Rass.

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities" Voltaire.

    by JWK on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 12:06:09 PM PST

  •  Thanks David. (0+ / 0-)

    A quick search on the internet shows increased support, in general, for greater gun control.

    Rasmussen asked:

    Should there be a ban on the purchase of semi-automatic and assault type weapons?
    They found that 55% of respondents were in favor of this type of ban.

    If you look at the 3 questions together, I think you see agreement in them in general for greater support for gun control.

    Add semi-automatic to the PPP question and your numbers are likely to drop a bit. But it looks like they are finding a similar trend.

    MB points out that the Gallup word is directly from the law. That wording may be useful in measuring support for the law but I do agree that it is confusing and too wordy for what they are using it for.

  •  The question which I wish had been asked (0+ / 0-)

    Is how many people believe that the Second Amendment protects individual gun rights.

  •  other things gun I'd like to see polled (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rockhound, FrankRose

    **If an "assault weapon" ban that effectively did nothing, meant losing health care and possibly the senate and presidency which would you choose?

    Most Dems I know wouldn't vote Repub over this issue, but I sure know a lot of Repubs that don't vote in bi elections who would turn out over gun control. Two or three enthusiasm points in 16 could make quite a difference.

    How big is your personal carbon footprint?

    by ban nock on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 12:09:22 PM PST

  •  maybe (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BleacherBum153, FrankRose

    it's because "assault weapon" has been purposefully and untruthfully conflated with "machine gun," and when you say semiautomatic it clears that confusion up.

  •  polling neutrality (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I looked at some polls done by, and one page had a sample of HuffPo vs YouGov opinion comparisons, and they were remarkably different.  So I agree that wording does come into play for questions, but there  is the effect of "dog whistle" words on the questionnaire.  For example, here the dog whistles are "assault weapon", whereas to others it might be "semiautomatic weapon".   And naturally, here on DailyKos, the polling may seem very natural, and neutral, but outside of DailyKos, it may seem overarching and far reaching.

    I agree with Gallup.. "assault weapon" seems to convey anything from a knife up to a bazooka.

    My $0.02 worth!

  •  What an incredibly dumb question (0+ / 0-)

    I'm surprised it's even as close as it is... Illegal to MANUFACTURE assault rifles? So what, our military and police forces wouldn't be able to buy them either? The way that's worded I'd also say "No" to that law.

  •  Clearly, the wording makes a difference, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but I disagree with the rather snarky analysis in the diary.

    To me, the PPP question is analogous to asking, "Do you favor or oppose repealing Obamacare?" The Gallup question would be a detailed recitation of what obamacare contains. As we know, the word "Obamacare" means many things to many people, most of which are not true.. I think the same could be said about "assault weapons."

  •  I always call them "Texas based Gallop" it drives (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mike101, a2nite

    conservatives batty and it helps "set the table" when you dispute their numbers.

    -1.63/ -1.49 "Speaking truth to power" (with snark of course)!

    by dopper0189 on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 02:11:21 PM PST

  •  Assault Weapons Ban did NOTHING, mostly (0+ / 0-)

    A month later the rifles on the list were back, without the bayonet mount, flash hider, folding stock and bipod.  The EXACT same operating mechanism.  Military surplus AK47s and their variants went away for quite a while, but eventually came back, having been modified to avoid the ban.  High capacity magazines never really went away because there were/are so many of them floating around that control was/is impossible.  Gun dealers could only sell their existing inventory, but even that was a huge number.

    Note that Bushmaster has sold over 3 years supply of high capacity magazines in the past couple of weeks, and think about how many more are floating around when there wasn't a shortage during the previous ban.

    This got totally out of control 25 years ago, and I see no way to get the genie back in the bottle.  No meaningful gun control will happen in the lifetime of anyone reading this.

  •  The people are on our side with banning assault (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    rifles, expanded clips.  We must stick with these issues when the dust settles and the NRA will just be getting started.  Enfoe must hold everyone to a law making outcome which banns assault rifles and expanded clips and insists on the registration of every gun and its tranfer in the country with cofication consequences for those who get caought with un registered firearms or other penalties.  Enforcement is as enforcement does.  It can be weak or powerful, what will do?

    •  I take it.... (0+ / 0-)

      from your nom de guerre that you are from Massachusetts?  How well do you think your suggestion is going to go over in Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, etc.?  Meaningful gun legislation is impossible, outside of the urban areas and in certain New England states (and even some of those have enough rural areas to make it impossible).

      Gun "buy backs", for instance.  How many (working) guns do you think would be turned in, in Oklahoma, North Dakota or Idaho?  Outside of urban areas these tactics have "fail" written all over them.

  •  What!???? (0+ / 0-)

    PPP found wide majority in favor of banning assault weapons, Gallup a majority against—what gives?

    What's gives? Seriously!?

    Let me put it this way.....5 days before the election, Gallup had Mitt Romney winning by 7 points!

    'Nuff said.

  •  Gallup...NOT Credible.... (0+ / 0-)

    Soon to be defunct...already marginalized....known " tool for hire"...

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