April 10th, 2013
05:42 PM ET
10 years ago

Gun rights activist dismisses polls

(CNN) – The chief of a powerful gun owners group said Wednesday he doesn't trust the methodology of polls showing an overwhelming number of Americans favoring universal background checks on gun sales.

"I'm not sure I believe any polls at this time. I don't think they know how to ask the right questions," Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, told CNN's Wolf Blitzer during a contentious interview on "The Situation Room." When Blitzer asked if that included Fox News' survey, Pratt said it did.

Nearly every national survey released over the past several months has shown a large percentage of Americans support increased background checks. The latest, a CNN/ORC International poll released Wednesday, showed 86% of those questioned favoring some form of background checks that are not currently required by law for gun sales.

The CNN survey, along with the previous polls, found no real partisan divide, with very strong support for the checks from Democrats, Republicans, and independents.

Those figures, however, weren't enough to convince Pratt.

"Your polls are hokum," he said, explaining that polls of gun owners groups, like Gun Owners of America and the National Rifle Association, show only small support for increasing background checks. Gun Owners of America has 300,000 due-paying members, per its website, while the larger National Rifle Association has 5 million. Both reflect a small percentage when compared to the overall population.

"When you ask the people involved, maybe we have a reason to suspect how these polls are put together," Pratt said.

At the core of his opposition was the potential for the federal government to keep a registry of gun owners, which he declared unconstitutional.

"The background check is national gun registration," he said. "And all that's on the table right now is to make that more comprehensive gun registration scheme than we've already had."

Sen. Pat Toomey, the Pennsylvania Republican who played a key role in negotiating a deal on expanding background checks, will receive backlash from gun groups, Pratt argued.

"He ought to be held politically accountable, and the way to do that is in the primaries," he said, adding his group was "looking for a viable candidate."

Toomey is up for re-election in 2016.

Filed under: Gun control
soundoff (696 Responses)
  1. sam

    Being delusional takes hard work. He must be exhausted by now.

    April 10, 2013 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  2. me

    Larry Pratt has an obvious mental problem... facts are in his face and he still denies it... he should not have guns or be in charge of anything... people like this should be held accountable for their irrational actions which, in turn, affects lives in this country each and every day... same holds true for Wayne LaPierre and all the nuts who agree with him. If the government is going to take anyone's guns they need to start with these raving lunatics, they are obviously not responsible gun owners. It's sad to think that their actions reflect so poorly on those gun owners who truly are responsible....

    April 10, 2013 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  3. mike

    I don't think bringing the NRA to any debate especially guns because we already know their position. Gun manufactures should be at the forefront of this debate. BTW can you buy a gun or ammo on the internet? If so how callous can we be.

    April 10, 2013 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  4. al

    polls are another form of corruption. they can easily be manipulated, and are financed by special interests groups. you are stupid to believe them.

    April 10, 2013 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  5. Trouble1952

    Another example of that epidemic. Cranial-rectal insertion syndrome.

    April 10, 2013 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  6. nuclear mike

    We agree...the poll questions, as some of us have prepared poll questionaires before for the desired outcome, are not reflective of what I/we are seeing among the citizens...Media hype and propoganda as was the same in NAZI Germany..."repeat the lies, unitl the lies become the truth, my Feuhrer"...and the German citizens surrendered all their firearms and the rest is history...to never be repeated again!

    April 10, 2013 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  7. idb

    Of course the man is totally right. The polls are set up so they reflect the wishes of the president.

    April 10, 2013 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    Translation: "I want these polls to contain a descriptive paragraph before every question that lays out my characterization of the regulatory proposal." Yawn. GOA are more extreme than the NRA. That's a fact. They're the whackdoo's whackadoo.

    April 10, 2013 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  9. The Other Bob

    "Don't confuse me with facts, my mind's made up." What a twit.

    April 10, 2013 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  10. Joe

    The gun industry has a vested interest in not believing the poles, lol. So what?

    April 10, 2013 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  11. fayray11x

    he must have the voices in his head telling him that the polls are wrong. Just more proof that all their slogans and gun "facts" are all b s.

    April 10, 2013 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  12. bob johnson

    The republicans dismissed the poles last Novermber also.

    April 10, 2013 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  13. tester

    considering those 2 groups combined have less than 2% of the total population, the polls are probably correct

    April 10, 2013 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  14. SkyKing169

    How about this: Every gun owner must be shot with his own gun, to experience the pain and suffering, the recovery from the gun shot wound, and the expense associated with it, so he or she is personally familiar with what they can do to another person. Only after they've healed (as long as they didn't die) can they legally possess the gun(s).
    Which gun owner and advocate shall be first?
    Didn't think so.
    Do you think the right to be alive trumps the right to own a gun?

    April 10, 2013 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  15. angeson

    FUNNY just dis believe polls that dont say what you want. That is called delusional.

    April 10, 2013 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  16. Typical

    Confirmation Bias hard at work: Reject any data that don't conform to your preconceived notions. You can fix ingorant, you can even fix crazy. You can't fix willfully stupid.

    April 10, 2013 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  17. usscott

    The latest poll asked 1219 registered voters via a telephone survey. That in no way, shape nor form equates to the opinion of 330 MILLION Americans. These polls have been tightly organized to ask only certain voters certan questions so that the outcom represents the pre-determined agenda that those requesting the poll are attempting to put forth. Do I believe any of these polls? Based on real convesations with real people, NO!

    April 10, 2013 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  18. Jamie

    What a moron. Just like the right wing nuts didn't believe the polls before the last election.

    April 10, 2013 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  19. QS

    That's funny....because I don't buy anything the NRA says, ever.

    April 10, 2013 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  20. Unit34Ahunter

    "ORC International." Well, at least there's SOME truth in advertising!

    April 10, 2013 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  21. SixDegrees

    The NRA is remarkably tone-deaf on this issue.

    In the last election, the NRA backed 8 pro-gun candidates in various states, in order to counteract their perceived anti-gun opponents. Despite the cold, hard cash and backing, 7 of those candidates lost.

    There's no political clout to fear here, and the NRA is on the wrong side of this issue.

    April 10, 2013 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  22. Edwin

    These polls are just as kooky as the biased ones during the Presidential campaign that showed Obama winning, the ones that conservatives said were made up... Oh, wait, they turned out to be accurate after all.

    But THESE ones are still wrong, after all, the same companies are running them, and we all know that even if they somehow turned out to be right before, every time, they must be biased this time.

    Honestly – this 'crying wolf' tactic is getting old.

    April 10, 2013 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  23. Bob

    So Larry Pratt joins the NRA as another terrorist enabling, blood soaked bunch of whack jobs.

    Good for him.

    April 10, 2013 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  24. rs

    Denial is a strong disease.

    All over these blogs one can read all sorts of denials. "3,300 people haven't died since Newtown..". Well they have, it's an easily eastablished fact (Google it). The question is if the number is that high would it change their minds? "All gun show sales go through background check". Not in Arizona. Got cash? Get a gun and walk away. If it is that way in my state it is like that in others. The worst though are reserved for the NRA: their assertion that "background checks don't work", ergo we should do away with them. Wow! Simply wow. Apply that to any other law and look at the results-chaos. More than 14,000 people we caught lying on their FFL application and many were tried in State courts (although only a handful were tried in Federal Courts). In either event it is highly likely 14,000 crimes (or more) were stopped. The armed teachers thing- there were two armed guards at Columbine- didn't stop a thing. The whole Background Checks lead to siezures paranoia ignores completely the fact that there are many trails to the gun owner: the manufacturer, the store owner, the bank, the record for your anmmunition and accessories purchases, security cameras and more. Yet, no guns have been siezed.

    Just lies and stupidity from the pro-gun crowd.

    Here's reality NRA- people are getting killed in America-needlessly. 3,300 to date since Dec. 14, 2012. This costs America millions of dollars, and untold grief (just think of Newtn, Tucson, Colorado or Virginia Tech. alone!), never mind the casual day-to-day tragedies with firearms. These are not rational costs for YOUR "freedom", or your irrational outlet.

    April 10, 2013 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  25. Guilaume

    Yes, and we all remember all polls were wrong in November, as can tell President Romney.

    April 10, 2013 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
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