I am amazed that the government survey of people in favor of firearms background checks (at a claimed 90 percent) is taken at face value. It was conducted by the "General Social Survey" at the University of Chicago. A key element of this survey is the number of people who own guns which, it claims, is going down.
The director of this program is Tom Smith, who has said that "if we had a larger drop in gun ownership implied in our survey, it would make it easier for politicians to 'do the right thing' on guns and pass more restrictive regulations." Mr. Smith is paid by the anti-gun Joyce Foundation, which expects results for its money.
A benchmark survey taken for gun ownership was 47 percent in 1991. This and subsequent "studies" have been tainted to the degree that distrust of the U.S. government has grown. Prospective respondents noted, "Only a fool would answer 'yes' to gun ownership on a survey," and "I had a survey ask me a question like this a few years back, and I stated 'no' when I actually had six guns." This question is just like asking, "How much money do you make?" Do you think you will get a straight answer?
On top of that, the sample group for the survey was extremely small, only 2,000. It would be very easy to manipulate the results with the composition of the sample group or the wording of the questionnaire.
There is no way that 90 percent of the population is in favor of background checks. As an experienced market researcher, I estimate that it would be about 40 percent. Whatever the real figure is, President Obama is wrong to use it to undercut our nation's Constitution. Too many Americans have died protecting it.
CARL R. GOODWIN
Colorado Springs, Colo.
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