You see it over and over, whenever another a regressive Democrat wants to ban guns, some gun owner who cuts up their rifle or some poll showing NRA members wish for more gun control. A common refrain amongst actual gun owners is “who did they ask”, because it was not me.
The argument is a logical fallacy, a straw man argument. Debaters and people seeking to win influence use the tactic when their argument can not be won with reason or facts. A recent poll by the American Journal of Public Health published here by The Washington Post makes the straw man come alive with the claim “Over 80 percent of gun owners and non-owners favor universal background checks”. It is nonsense, and the claim is link bait for sympathetic news sources and bloggers to use the outrageous “80%” claim.
A simple dissection of the claim shows even the American Journal of Public Health knows it is stretching the truth – “and non-owners” is not in the claim by accident. Later in the article, they concede gun owners don’t agree with most of their survey questions. The ones that do – well no one is told, how the question was phrased and it matters. Gun owners know background checks are required on all firearms purchases, so if asked “do you support background checks”? Some less than zero number will say “yes”. Sometimes a better question than who did they ask is how did they ask it.
Surveys are nearly meaningless and are used as agitprop for the easily swayed. If “Johnny jumped off the bridge, would you?” – a great many “Facebookers” would. An unfortunately high percentage of adults, especially by todays qualifications for “Adulthood”, don’t have minds of their own but look to leaders to tell them how to think or feel. (You can trust the last statement, because I made a survey and I am about to publish it.) This tactic is effective with such “Adults”. Unfortunately these “Adults” become strident “Facebook” activists, the rest are employed as politicians.
The surveys of compliant gun owners and YouTube videos of crushing a rifle are only convincing to other straw men. Let’s hope Dorthy finds them a brain.