A survey has started making its way through the gun rights community. Supposedly the survey shows that most law enforcement officers oppose enacting stricter gun control laws:
The law-enforcement support site PoliceOne.com has released the results of a massive survey in which “more than 15,000 verified law enforcement professionals” were asked 30 questions about current gun control proposals. The results may surprise you.
“Contrary to what the mainstream media and certain politicians would have us believe,” writes Police One Editor in Chief Doug Wyllie, “police overwhelmingly favor an armed citizenry, would like to see more guns in the hands of responsible people, and are skeptical of any greater restrictions placed on gun purchase, ownership, or accessibility.”
On the surface this sounds great because the police would be tasked with enforcing any new gun control legislation. Another apparently positive aspect of these results is that politicians often justify their support for gun control by claiming law enforcement officers support gun control. Many supporters of gun rights are using these results to imply that most law enforcement officers wouldn’t enforce new gun control laws and politicians may be less inclined to advocate for more gun control knowing that a majority of law enforcement officers oppose it. These implications ignore two major factors: paychecks usually trump beliefs and politicians don’t care what anybody thinks.
Law enforcement officers are paid to enforce the state’s decrees. If an law enforcement officer is unwilling to enforce the state’s decrees they are dismissed. Have you ever heard an officer say, “I’m just doing my job?” What they mean is that they may not agree with what they’re told to do but they will do it because that is the job assigned to them. It’s a cop out, a way of justifying an act that the person knows is wrong. When faced with the choice between enforcing new gun control laws or receiving a paycheck you can guarantee that a vast majority of police officers will choose the latter. We must always remember that the police are not our friends, their job is to take our shit and put it in the state’s coffers.
Politicians often claim that they support gun control laws because their police officers do. That is also a cop out. When a politician says his law enforcement officers support legislation they really means that the select officers they personally opted to seek advice from support the legislation. If the politician can’t get the opinion they want from the officers they selected they simply select different officers to advise them. Politicians don’t care what anybody thinks, they have an agenda and they seek the advice of people that will support that agenda.
I hate to say it but that survey is meaningless outside of being an argument against the claim that a majority of law enforcement officers support gun control. If the politicians want to pass new gun control laws they will and the police will enforce those laws just as they enforce every other laws.