Media Spin on Gun Control Doesn't Match Voters' Opinions• https://www.realclearpolitics.comBy John R. LottJr
Congress recently passed legislation providing funding for states that adopted these laws.
But the polling doesn't really gauge whether Americans understand how these laws operate. The surveys generally just ask people if they support laws that "allow guns to be temporarily confiscated by a judge from people considered by a judge to be a danger to themselves or others."
Respondents might reasonably assume that a normal legal process is being followed, whereby complaints are made and witnesses are cross-examined. With a law that almost always involves fears of suicide, they might presuppose that mental health experts are involved in the process.
To examine this premise, the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC), which I head, hired McLaughlin & Associates to survey 1,000 general election voters from July 21-24, 2022. The survey began by asking people whether they supported red flag laws. It then informed respondents that there are no hearings before an individual's guns are taken away, and that there are no mental health care experts involved in the process.
People initially answered by a two-to-one margin that they support red flag laws (58% to 29%), with the strongest support coming from Democrats, the wealthy, blacks and Hispanics, and people aged 18-29.
However, after being told that there are no court proceedings before an individual's guns are taken away, and that there are no mental health care experts involved in the process, support changed to opposition (29% to 47%). Strong support plummeted from 34% to 14% and strong opposition rose from 18% to 29%.