A whopping 87 percent of respondents — including 85 percent of self-described Democrats — said they support laws allowing citizens to use deadly force to protect themselves from danger in their own homes. Less than 10 percent opposed such laws. In public places, more than two thirds said the law should allow people to protect themselves from danger with deadly force.
“People have always thought in this country that they have the right to defend themselves from danger or from harm,” Ipsos pollster Chris Jackson told The New American in a phone interview. “We still see that even in public places … with deadly force if necessary.”
When it comes to allowing citizens to bear arms, 75 percent of those surveyed support laws to permit concealed carry of weapons. Even 72 percent of self-identified Democrats expressed support for gun-rights on the issue. One reason for the results might be the realization that police cannot stop all crime: according to the poll, almost everybody knows that.
Supporters of the Second Amendment celebrated the survey findings, but the impressive collection of data was barely noticed by the press. Reuters, which commissioned the survey, did produce one article dealing with the results.
For the most part, however, the establishment media completely failed to report the findings — possibly because they so obviously clashed with the incessant repetition of words like “controversial” before almost every mention of Florida’s popular self-defense laws. Reuters used the same adjective as well, again and again.
"The controversial 2005 Florida law grants immunity to people who use deadly force in self defense," claimed Andrew Longstreth in an April 4 "analysis" for Reuters, for example. And a Reuters reporter wrote on March 23: “The shakeup at the state level was more surprising as Gov. Rick Scott [pictured above] … formed a task force to review Florida's controversial ‘Stand Your Ground’ law.”
Apparently, however, the law was not quite as controversial as Reuters and other media would have liked readers to believe. Still, analysts are not expecting corrections any time soon. And the press was hardly alone in seeking to manufacture controversy where no real debate truly existed. Fueled by largely irrelevant anti-gun extremists, political opportunists and politicians participated in the hysteria, too.
After the shooting of Martin attracted national attention, anti-Second Amendment activists even tried to pin the blame on the NRA. “This tragic shooting represents the National Rifle Association's vision for America,” claimed Brady Campaign boss Dan Gross in a statement trying to score cheap political points by exploiting a tragedy. Another Brady executive, Vice President Dennis Henigan, said: "We have called Florida the NRA's armed utopia."
But based on the recent poll results, the demonization strategy has been a spectacular failure. More than two thirds of those surveyed held a favorable view of the National Rifle Association (NRA) — including about 55 percent of Democrats.
"Regardless of how others try to distort our position, the general public knows where we stand," NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam was quoted as saying. "It shows the failure of the continuing efforts of many to try and discredit the National Rifle Association."
Meanwhile, efforts to link strong protections of gun rights and self-defense laws to violence and crime have accelerated. After the fatal shooting in Florida, anti-gun activists — or victim-disarmament advocates, as they are known among critics — repeatedly attempted to blame the state’s relatively looser restrictions for the killing.
“Trayvon's life has been lost not because of an accident, but because of the easy access to a gun by a violent person permitted by a state with weak gun laws,” Brady boss Gross claimed in the same statement. The facts, however, paint a much different picture.
Jurisdictions with few to no infringements on the right to keep and bear arms — Alaska and Vermont, for instance — have among the lowest violent crime rates in the nation. Places with the most gun control like Washington D.C. and Chicago, meanwhile, have among the highest.
In Florida, media personalities and assorted anti-liberty activists took aim at the popular “Stand Your Ground” law, which has been enacted in more than 20 states with broad popular support. It essentially allows would-be victims to defend themselves from imminent danger with deadly force if necessary.
The law states: "A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity ... has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony."
Following the largely manufactured controversy over the law, Florida Gov. Rick Scott formed a task force to review it and offer recommendations. Its supporters in the legislature and among the public have stood firm in defense of the law, but anti-gun groups are seeking to have it repealed. "We are at a 40-year low in our crime rate in our state," Gov. Scott said about the state’s firearm laws. "From a public safety standpoint we are absolutely heading in the right direction."
While most of the recent poll’s findings were celebrated by gun-rights supporters, some of the results were less than encouraging. The majority of Americans, for instance, support some regulation — though pollsters did not ask whether respondents differentiated between state and federal restrictions.
Most participants also expressed support for limits on automatic weapons like machine guns, which for those without a permit were essentially banned by the federal government decades ago. Restrictions on the amount of firearms a person should be able to purchase in a given time period also found strong support.
Still, analysts noted that the poll results revealed a wide disconnect between the Democratic Party establishment and regular Democrats, who broadly support the Second Amendment. The survey also showed that the media-created furor over self-defense rights failed to translate into genuine controversy about the unalienable right to keep and bear arms.
The poll, conducted between April 9 and April 12, included 650 Republicans, 752 Democrats, and 520 independents, Ipsos said. According to the firm, it has a credibility rating of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points.