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Letters: Survey clarification

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  • micawber Centerville, UT
    May 2, 2013 2:23 a.m.

    According to Gallup, it conducted a survey on January 19 and 20, which found that "91% of Americans said they personally would vote for a measure requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales. Gallup asked this question again in the April 22-25 survey and found a slight decline, to 83% support." The details about sample size, randomness, etc. can be found on Gallup's web site.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    May 2, 2013 6:14 a.m.

    "I keep seeing in the media and from letters to the Deseret News that 90 percent of Americans want more gun control."

    Kathryn,

    Worded like that, I would agree with you that the numbers would not be 90%.

    But, we are talking about background checks.

    Here are 3 different polls.

    (KUTV) A new study done by BYU’s Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy shows Utahns are in favor of background checks on guns.

    According to the study, 82% of Utahns favor background checks on all potential gun buyers.

    CNN poll

    Date conducted: 1/14/2011 - 1/16/2011
    Sample: 1,014 adults
    Margin of error: +/- 3% pts

    Question - Do you favor or oppose background checks on potential gun buyers?

    Favor - 94%
    Oppose - 6%

    Pretty strait forward question.

    The Quinnipiac University Poll,

    Question - Would you favor or oppose requiring background checks on people buying guns at gun shows?

    January 31, 2013 - Quinnipiac University Poll Finding Near 100% Support For Wider Background Checks For Gun-Buyers

    Seems pretty clear to me. Survey after survey with straitforward questions about background checks.

    How many more polls do you want? What polls would you like to use?

  • tenx Santa Clara, UT
    May 2, 2013 6:39 a.m.

    Maybe BHO said it so you know it must be true.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    May 2, 2013 6:49 a.m.

    There were multiple surveys which showed that Americans agreed in principle with limited background checks. We were considerably less excited about specific proposals, including the latest one that died in the Senate.

    If the Senate bill had been supported by the people, it would have passed. It wasn't, and it didn't.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    May 2, 2013 7:43 a.m.

    The vast majority support the proposition that the NRA and minority ran the filibuster. The vote changed the next elections and many Republicans are already down in the polls. The President knew that after the next elections, the backlash will make it a lock to pass reasonable background checks in the future. the NRA won the battle and lost the war.

  • KJB1 Eugene, OR
    May 2, 2013 8:27 a.m.

    And all the polls that said President Obama was going to beat Romney last November were "skewed." Some people just have to live in their bubbles, I guess.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    May 2, 2013 8:46 a.m.

    @The Real Maverick

    No amount of polling will change what the Constitution says: "[T]he right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

    Name-calling won't help, either. It only exposes the weakness of your arguments.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    May 2, 2013 8:47 a.m.

    Kathy

    You can find the answer to your question in a matter of seconds by conducting a search using "gun control polls."

    Most polls use a sample size of approx 1000 people. You can also find detail about the various polls. But even when a Fox News poll asked the question, "Do you favor or oppose expanding background checks on gun buyers?"

    82% responded they favor expanding background checks.

    At various times in other polls 90% of those questioned supported enhanced background checks.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    May 2, 2013 9:00 a.m.

    @ Nate

    "No amount of polling will change what the Constitution says: "[T]he right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.""

    So in other words, anyone and everyone should have access to any and every weapon ever created? Otherwise, it would be an "infringement" upon the 2nd amendment, right?

    Can you yell "fire" in a movie theater? Can you buy nukes or machine guns at your local gun store?

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    May 2, 2013 9:20 a.m.

    Is it possible that 90% of Americans have not studied the Constitution?

    Is it possible that 90% of Americans would give away a guaranteed "right" so that the government can give them comfort?

    Is it possible that 90% of Americans have not studied "Fast and Furious" to know how the government deals with guns and gangs?

    Is it possible that 90% of Americans would prefer that government have the power to decide which citizen can keep and bear arms and which citizen cannot?

    Sadly, the answer to all of those questions is that 90% of Americans have not done due diligence on this issue.

    Sadly, to some Americans, freedom is just a word. They would give their freedom to the government is exchange for empty promises.

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    May 2, 2013 9:33 a.m.

    Nate and Mike,

    "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

    You seem to like a strict interpretation of the Constitution (in Mike's case, the stricter the better). Okay, strictly interpreted, the only reason people can keep and bear arms is so we can have a well-regulated militia. We restrict all sorts of arms--from nuclear warheads on down to hand grenades--to only our well-regulated militia. Guns fall under this same logic.

    If you want a strict interpretation of the Constitution, it says nothing about people having any right to own guns so they can hunt, shoot at targets, protect themselves, or even feed their families. In other words, government can restrict gun rights in every way possible, except to deny our well-regulated militia the arms necessary to defend the country.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    May 2, 2013 9:59 a.m.

    So according to Mitt 47% deserve no attention because they haven't paid enough to have a say.
    and then Mike Say's 90% of Americans are stupid or just ignorant of his interpretations of the constitution.
    then Nate says "No amount of polling will change what the Constitution says:" as he selects a portion of the sentence that he agrees with.

    I think the majority does understand better, than the 1% who think they know better.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    May 2, 2013 10:16 a.m.

    Gallup is the gold standard in survey science. At least 83% of Americans, at a 95% confidence level, support universal background checks. And that's a fact, the letter writer notwithstanding. That makes our Congressional representatives dramatically un-representative.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    May 2, 2013 10:28 a.m.

    @The Real Maverick

    Straw men don't help your argument either.

    @Roger

    It doesn't say the right of the militia to keep and bear arms -- it says the right of the people.

    @Happy Valley

    I agree with the entire sentence. I quoted the portion Maverick needed to hear.

    The numbers you are throwing around are meaningless. The poll question was about background checks. As I said above, 90% of Americans are willing to consider background checks. The proposed legislation had much less support. Not enough to get it through the Senate.

  • homebrew South Jordan, UT
    May 2, 2013 11:36 a.m.

    Yeah 90% want expanded background checks, But what does the bible say??

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    May 2, 2013 11:46 a.m.

    One of the weird quirks is that 80+% in polling support background checks on all gun purchases but only about 50% support increasing gun regulation. The oddity there is because roughly 50% of people polled believe that we already require background checks on all gun purchases but that's not true, since they aren't required for private sales. What it results in though is that a lot of people who oppose adding gun control incorrectly believe we already have background checks for all gun purchases, so they start to believe there's something sinister (when there isn't) in things like the background check expansion proposed in the Senate.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    May 2, 2013 12:26 p.m.

    @Kent C. DeForrest
    Provo, UT

    You seem to like a strict interpretation of the Constitution (in Mike's case, the stricter the better).

    Great arguement ....

    I expect Mike R. to pull out the old 'District of Columbia v. Heller' ruling by the US Supremem Court stating a person has the right to protect themselves....and having a hand gun is constitutional.

    But don't ever EVER expect him to support Roe v. Wade by that very same exact US Supreme Court.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    May 2, 2013 12:30 p.m.

    Mike Richards
    South Jordan, Utah
    Is it possible that 90% of Americans have not studied the Constitution?

    ============

    Lesson #1 from Kent C. DeForrest:

    "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

    You seem to like a strict interpretation of the Constitution (in Mike's case, the stricter the better). Okay, strictly interpreted, the only reason people can keep and bear arms is so we can have a well-regulated militia. We restrict all sorts of arms--from nuclear warheads on down to hand grenades--to only our well-regulated militia. Guns fall under this same logic.

    ----

    i.e., Mike Richards just failed Constitutional Law.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    May 2, 2013 1:13 p.m.

    @LDS Liberal "...failed..."

    There isn't a Supreme Court in history which has interpreted the Second Amendment the way Kent has twisted it. The failure is his.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    May 2, 2013 1:45 p.m.

    @JoeBlow
    Far East USA, SC

    Blue Ribbon winning answer on this thread!
    Great comment.

    ----------

    "I have observed that one can find a survey to support nearly any position on any dispute."
    Kathryn was right about that --
    Why else would FoxNews polls keep telling their lemming listeners that Mitt Romney was so way far out ahead -- when everyone else said he wasn't?

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    May 2, 2013 1:50 p.m.

    "There isn't a Supreme Court in history which has interpreted the Second Amendment the way Kent has twisted it. The failure is his."

    I would agree with you Nate. But, then if we are using (rightly so) Supreme court interpretations to define law, then one HAS to admit that requiring background checks is constitutional.

    As is limiting Where guns can be carried
    As is WHAT guns can be carried.

    The Heller ruling can be absolutely NO clearer that these restrictions ARE constitutional.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    May 2, 2013 1:51 p.m.

    Re: ". . . strictly interpreted, the only reason people can keep and bear arms is so we can have a well-regulated militia."

    Tired, liberal sophistry at its worst!

    Nothing in the Constitution limits the reason for the Second Amendment -- or any of the Amendments constituting the Bill of Rights -- to a single issue.

    Nothing in the Constitution requires automatic repeal of any provision because credulous or disingenuous partisans may believe one or another of its purposes to have been rendered moot.

    And, most importantly, NOTHING in the Constitution permits intentionally dishonest interpretation of its clauses, to demand a sense or meaning that is the exact opposite of its plain, unambiguous language.

    The operative words of the Second Amendment are, "the right of the people to keep and bear arms SHALL NOT be infringed [emphasis supplied]."

    Those words simply CANNOT be honestly interpreted to mean, "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall [or may] be infringed."

    Argument to the contrary is inarguably disingenuous, the tool of cynical liberal sophists, attempting to sway unsophisticated rubes.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    May 2, 2013 3:09 p.m.

    Re:VST

    Time will tell whether Senator's votes against background checks will cost them re-election, but most recent polling found there might be a risk:

    Fifty-two percent of Arizona voters said they were less likely to support Sen. Jeff Flake (R) for reelection due to his "no" vote, while 46 percent of Nevadans said the same of Sen. Dean Heller (R). More than a third of voters were less likely to back Portman as well as Alaska Sens. Mark Begich (D) and Murkowski. A previous PPP poll found that Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) also saw her ratings tumble 15 points, likely due in part to her vote against background checks.

    Much of the lost support comes from independent or moderate voters.

  • Alter Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    May 2, 2013 3:17 p.m.

    @Joe Blow "[R]equiring background checks is constitutional."

    I'm not arguing any of the technicalities of that. What I'm saying is that Americans can read the simple language of the Second Amendment and decide for themselves what it means. We then elect representatives who share roughly the same understanding.

    The voters seem to have concluded that the current restrictions on gun ownership are at about the level where they want them to be. We just had an opportunity to increase those restrictions, and the bill didn't pass.

    VST has it right: the support for greater restrictions may have been wide, but it was very shallow. It was too shallow to pass the bill.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    May 2, 2013 4:43 p.m.

    What is a "well regulated militia"? It is citizen soldiers, i.e. every able bodied citizen living in the community who is expected to come to the aid of that community at a moment's notice. He is expected to have a "gun" at his disposal. He is expected to be willing to use that "gun" in defense of his community.

    A "militia" has nothing to do with the Federal Government. It is citizen soldiers.

    Of course, the left would tell us that Uncle Sam regulates the militia, just as they tell us that the 2nd Amendment is to be understood as a right given to us by government and that we citizens have to ask permission to keep and bear arms; that we citizens have to get someone in government to "approve" of our "right" to keep and bear arms; that we citizens have to wait until someone in government decides that we are somehow "worthy" to keep and bear arms.

    NO government agency has been authorized by the Constitution to restrict our right to keep and bear arms - regardless of what 90% of the ill-informed think.

  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    May 2, 2013 8:27 p.m.

    Kent DeForest actually got the Second Amendment right. As for Mike Richards, sure, a militia meant a local or state military unit made up of citizen soldiers. They weren't necessarily expected to own their own firearms, because in the 18th century, guns were expensive and not everyone had one; most weapons were stored in a local armory.
    But this was an America without a local police force, without a standing army or the apparatus to form one, with serious challenges from Native American tribes, and the constant fear of slave rebellions.
    So I'll agree with your description of the 18th century definition of 'militia,' if you'll agree that it's hopelessly anachronistic and of no relevance to our society today. I would suggest perhaps that the closest thing we have to a 'militia' is a local police force. And yes, I'm in favor of arming cops.

  • Alter Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    May 2, 2013 10:05 p.m.

    @Eric Samuelsen

    No, Kent DeForest actually gives the Second Amendment a more tortured interpretation than I've seen anywhere. I'll ask again: why does it say "the right of the people," if it was meant only for the local police force?

  • Res Novae Ashburn, VA
    May 3, 2013 5:56 a.m.

    @Mike Richards,

    "What is a "well regulated militia"?"

    In colonial/early America, a militia was formally organized in a township. A militia had an armory where small arms, cannon, powder, and ammunition were stored. The militia held regular, organized training. When was the last time you spent a Saturday training with the South Jordan militia?

    "A "militia" has nothing to do with the Federal Government. It is citizen soldiers....Of course, the left would tell us that Uncle Sam regulates the militia...."

    Article 1, Section 8, Clauses 15 of the Constitution - "To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions".

    Article 1, Section 8, Clause 16 of the Constitution - "To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States...."

    The modern descendent of the militia system is the Army National Guard, organized by individual states but also a component of the US National Guard, a federal entity, pursuant to the Militia Act of 1903.

    Now you're part of the 90% you berated for not studying the Constitution.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    May 3, 2013 7:19 a.m.

    The same constitutional authorities that said affordable health care was unconstitutional are wrong about gun control. America does not want to be governed by gun crazies.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    May 3, 2013 7:32 a.m.

    Re:Res Novae, Mike Richards

    Shays Rebellion provided the backdrop for the 2nd Amendment.

    Look it up.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    May 3, 2013 7:43 a.m.

    How many know what the gun law is. or what the new law's would be. I don't It's not a concern to me.

  • Res Novae Ashburn, VA
    May 3, 2013 9:42 a.m.

    @Truthseeker,

    In other comment threads, I've pointed out Shay's Rebellion in the context of the Second Amendment and the militia clauses and how the Constitution should be read with that in mind -- not as empowering individual rights, but empowering the Federal government to quash armed insurrections. Unfortunately the Strict Constructionists ignore appeals to context which conflict with their personal interpretation of the document.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    May 3, 2013 9:48 a.m.

    Res Novae
    Ashburn, VA
    @Mike Richards,

    ==============

    Best answer about what a "Militia" really and truely is.

    Mike Richard's definition is nothing but a bunch of rednecks, with guns, in the back of a pick-up truck.

    FYI - At it's most bare-bones basic wild-wild-west rural level -- A County "Posse" could be constitutionally defined as a "militia",
    but then again, they were duly sworn, legally authorized, and given proper identification.

    Mike Richards wants America to be a Theocratic-MOBocrasy.
    the western equvalant of a Taliban-controlled-Afghanistan.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    May 3, 2013 2:08 p.m.

    re:Res Novae

    Thank you.

    My understanding (and I could be wrong) of Shay's rebellion was that the federal govt. didn't have a standing army at the time and so it fell to the state to put down the rebellion within its borders. Therefore the concern was that the 2nd Amendment provided a right for states to have a standing militia.

  • Alter Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    May 3, 2013 4:39 p.m.

    @Res Novae

    When James Madison stood before Congress on June 8, 1789, and proposed the Bill of Rights, his theme was guaranteeing the "rights of the people," not empowering the federal government. One of his stated purposes for the Bill of Rights was that "the abuse of the powers of the general government may be guarded against in a more secure manner than is now done."

    His proposal for what became the Second Amendment was offered in these words: "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country...." (Annals of Congress, House of Representatives, First Congress, 1st Session.)

    Now read the Bill of Rights and count the references to "the people", and ask yourself why one lone amendment empowering the federal government would be placed amongst all the others enumerating rights of the people. (Speaking of context.)

    Shay's Rebellion may have informed provisions within the Constitution itself, but the Bill of Rights is about individual liberties. All of it.

  • Claudio Springville, Ut
    May 3, 2013 5:44 p.m.

    Mike R,

    If the government is only given power as determined by the people...

    Then why when 90% of the people favor a piece of legislation does the government decide to not pass it?

    You cannot argue out of both sides of your mouth...though I don't know why I bother to post this. You refuse to listen to anything than your own voice anyway.

    Re: pro(blah)

    You accuse Kent of "liberal sophistry," but deliberately chose to frame his comment out of context and deliberately chose to misrepresent it. Who's being deceptive now?

  • Res Novae Ashburn, VA
    May 3, 2013 7:41 p.m.

    @Alter Nate,

    You cannot isolate the Second Amendment from the Article 1, Section 8 clauses (all involving militias), not to mention the Treason Clause and the Guarantee Clause. All of these are empowering the federal government. The ratification debates did not address an individual right to bear arms, but centered on whether the militia clauses gave too much power to the federal government (and the Antifederalists lost).

    The Madison quotation you offer is incomplete, leaving out a third clause: "but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person." The whole context of the proposed amendment is clearly military. The first clause enumerates the right, the second explains the purpose, the third gives an exception.

    That you appeal to Madison makes my point. Madison tried mobilizing a national response to Shay's Rebellion. He was the prime mover behind the Constitutional Convention precisely because he saw the weakness of the Articles of Confederation exposed that experience. He was absolutely concerned with strengthening the power of the national government to respond to internal rebellions, which is why the Constitution empowers the federal government to regulate state militias to that effect.

  • Res Novae Ashburn, VA
    May 3, 2013 7:58 p.m.

    @Alter Nate

    As to your argument that positioning the Second Amendment within a cluster of other amendments referring to "the people," 18th century common law referred to the composition of militias as "populous armatus" or the "great body of the people" and treated it as a collective because by definition there cannot be a one-person militia. That collective did not have the right of individual sovereignty because it requires a unified group, but instead obtained the right to act through a collective "sovereignty of the people" from the government in control of the militia.

  • Alter Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    May 4, 2013 1:09 a.m.

    @Res Novae

    You cannot divorce the Second Amendment from the rest of the Bill of Rights and insist that its reference to "the people" means something different than every other reference surrounding it. (By the way, your translation of "populus armatus" failed to account for "armatus." Add the word "armed" to your translated phrase, and observe how it wrecks your argument.)

    Your "collective right" argument is weak to begin with. Consider freedom of assembly. It is an example of a right which cannot be exercised outside a unified group, but is nevertheless an individual right. Your supposed militia-only rights would be open to a similar construction.

    Notwithstanding Madison's opposition to Shay's Rebellion, if he had intended that arms be kept and born only by a militia, he would have said so. What he said instead was "the right of the people." He said it clearly and repeatedly. The enumeration of one purpose for a right does not preclude its exercise for other purposes.

  • Unreconstructed Reb Chantilly, VA
    May 4, 2013 1:20 p.m.

    Alter Nate -

    As an Iraq war vet turned ACLU-card-carrying lawyer with a gun collection, I lurk in amusement on gun threads.

    I suppose RN can't answer because he's out of posts (and hasn't created another account unlike you). I'll chime in briefly in response to your last post. You constitutional originalists want us to examine the original 18th C. meaning of every word in it. RN provided context for common law treatment of militias, which you blew off. You can't have it both ways. We either consider the words as used and understood by a lawyer of the time, or we do not. You're arguing from silence. Madison would have known that an armed populace was never understood as pertaining to an individual right under common law, a view that didn't exist until the NRA began pushing it in the 70s by sponsoring a slew of lawyers to churn out articles supporting an individual rights interpretation, one that isn't supported by 18th C. documentation.

    Considering your blatant omission in quoting the amendment's initial language and ignoring it when pointed out, I think you're getting outgunned (pardon the pun).

  • Lane Myer Salt Lake City, UT
    May 6, 2013 1:35 p.m.

    Vote number two for Res Novae. If this were a debate, he/she wins hands down over Alter Nate.