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. Robyn

    Gun Nuts of Armageddon represents 300,000 people and there are what?
    Maybe something like 500 other people in the whole rest of the country, right?
    Of course we are ahead.

    I'll be going back to my bunker now.

    April 10, 2013 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  2. Arturo

    No more "hokum" than the Bible!

    April 10, 2013 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  3. Uncle Sam

    I don't buy the polls either. Go over to Yahoo News and look at ANY of there gun stories and filter the comments on "Popular Now" or "Most Replied" and eyeball the ratio of thumbs up vs. thumbs down for pro-gun comments vs. anti-gun comments. I would say is is about 10 to 1 in favor of the pro-gunners. Do this with any of the online news articles and the results are the same. So, where does the media get off quoting some obscure statistic that 90% Americans want more gun control? It is very clear to me what Americans want and itis is not more gun control.

    April 10, 2013 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  4. TAK

    Denial in the face of overwhelming evidence. It's the conservative way, isn't it? I'll bet this guy denies evolution and climate change too.

    April 10, 2013 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  5. md22mdrx

    Typical republican .... He thumbs his nose at reality and doubles down on party-line rhetoric.

    April 10, 2013 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  6. Amazing

    Why do nut cases like Pratt get attention? Expanding background checks is not increased regulation; it is common sense. Will it solve all of our gun issues? No! But it is a step in the right direction. I cannot see how expanded background checks infringes on anyone's 2nd Amendment rights. This guy does not believe in polls and we don't believe any of the nonsense that comes out of his mouth!

    April 10, 2013 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  7. Jeff

    I reject your reality and replace it with my own. Na Na na Boh boh

    April 10, 2013 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  8. ksmary

    Why does Mr. Pratt think that the 2% of the population who are members of those two groups would swing the polls to show that the majority of Americans oppose background checks? Frankly I am surprised that 14% are against better checks of gun buyers.

    April 10, 2013 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  9. They Need To Wise Up

    Funny how most of the so called advocates for gun rights that show their faces in public very much appear to be old dinosaurs who can't let go of their dated ways. I believe in the 2nd amendment being defended but they're starting to push me away from the idea of defending it openly as they actually serve as an embarrassment to those of us who value what the amendment and gun ownership really stand for.

    April 10, 2013 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  10. You Have Been Weighed, You Have Been Measured..

    Pratt and the Party for Reverse Progress are a dying breed, thankfully

    April 10, 2013 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  11. Lizzy10

    And I don't believe anything out of Larry Pratt's mouth.

    April 10, 2013 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  12. Voter

    I'm a Dem in PA... and I would vote this Republican senator right back into office just to stick it to this guy – especially because he actually reached across the aisle, which is what we need. Of course if we poll people who are due-paying members of gun groups then the results will favor his stance. Sounds like he needs to get out from living under that rock.

    Probably the same guy who would use the "guns don't kill people, people kill people" line. That's fine, then maybe we should start screening the PEOPLE who buy guns to make sure they don't kill other innocent people?

    April 10, 2013 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  13. michael

    typical because he didnt like the truth so he is going to take his ball and go home. LOSER

    April 10, 2013 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  14. Scott

    Uh huh. And you probably also believed Mitt Romney was due for a landslide.

    April 10, 2013 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  15. dbdy

    I don't blame him. If you got an agenda in mind then how you write the question determines (in your favor) what answer you want in response. If you want to do away with the second amendment then you will write skewed questions that will make it appear that do so is the "right" answer most of the time. Now a days everyone has their own agenda so I wouldn't beleive these polls either.

    April 10, 2013 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  16. james

    well i agree how can a person agree with any pole unless they go door to door and ask every adult, its a cheating way you idiots if you think poles will push dictatorship!

    April 10, 2013 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  17. linda123

    "I don't buy the polls". I'd be willing to bet you've bought a couple of congressmen, though.

    April 10, 2013 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  18. andy55

    It is a good battle to fight, which side are you on?
    On the one hand freedom has it;s price.
    Yes, in the last 50 years more Americans died at home from American guns and American Shooters than in all wars that we fought in the last 50 years combined.
    But than again on the other hand there is that government, that now has high tech surveillance and now with their drones, that one day might snuff out what freedom is left and a good militia has to fight underground to restore our freedom.

    April 10, 2013 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  19. Rev

    The Romney camp dismissed the polls too. That turned out well......

    April 10, 2013 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  20. NeedMoreJobs

    Damn straight. How dare they keep a registry of gun owners. That will allow Hitler to find them from his grave. It will also allow the Martians to find all gun owners. The protectors of human kind from being wiped out from the surface of earth. Oh my gawd.

    April 10, 2013 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  21. CM

    Mr. Fatty Bratt and Mr. Vain LaPear or Pain LaFear have lead in their heads! Polls do not mean much to them. They are not affected by violence on a first hand basis to understand victims' pain! They hire body guards in spite of being loaded with machine guns themselves!

    April 10, 2013 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  22. Mark

    Since only 1 in 3 people ever visit the internet, and only 2% of those are ever involved in a given poll, I dont buy them either..

    April 10, 2013 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  23. Joan Wheeler

    How very Rovian [i.e., denial of reality].

    April 10, 2013 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  24. alan

    I agree; I think the polls are bogus

    April 10, 2013 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  25. Spookys mom

    and who is again that doesn't think these gun people are not right in the head? Nut jobs all.

    April 10, 2013 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
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