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. ironman59

    Let's get some facts straight. The nra has about 4.5 million members and this group probably less. There are 300 million Americans in this country and by voting results about 120 million adults (probably more). That means your little groups are less than 10% of the population with an opinion on the matter.

    April 10, 2013 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  2. JD

    Look at me. I'm a non-thinking NRA gun nut. I don't believe in science, don't believe in polls...the earth was created 6,000 years ago and I can't think for myself or do anything but parrot FOXnoise.

    April 10, 2013 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  3. OrangeBlue81

    The NRA and their ilk both advocate and enable the slaughter of innocent civilians. Shame on them.

    April 10, 2013 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  4. CSM

    Denial is a wonderful thing.

    April 10, 2013 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  5. Reggie from LA

    The polls are "hokum" and his thinking is universal? He is speaking for a majority because he can summarily dismiss polls as being biased? Then he believes that the polls taken within NRA/Gun owner circles are NOT biased and reflective of how most of us think? Just toss that Constitution around like you own that puppy. Make it work for ya! Is it because of loss of profits that we can't ensure that we hold folks who want to own something designed specifically for killing? Yes killing. Yes we go to the range, shoot some skeets, but guns are made for killing. Done any good huntin' lately? Killing.

    April 10, 2013 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  6. Jason

    And...why should we believe him?

    April 10, 2013 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  7. steven

    Another gun advocate that lives in an altered universe complete with paranoia.

    April 10, 2013 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  8. bspurloc

    Even foxfax are wrong? WOW..... he obviously is delusional. never blasphemer foxfax....

    April 10, 2013 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |

    Yes DON'T TRUST the polls....(wink, wink) We heard this one before from Mitt Romney I believe lmao

    April 10, 2013 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  10. Dave

    When the polls say what you don't want to hear then you just don't believe them. Hey buddy, ever heard of this guy Karl Rove?

    April 10, 2013 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  11. midgick

    and there's weopons of mass destruction in Iraq.What a stooge

    April 10, 2013 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  12. PoBoy

    "I'm not sure I believe any polls at this time. I don't think they know how to ask the right questions," Except the one that his group conducted. Now that's what I call an unbiased assessment. What a clown!

    April 10, 2013 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  13. pokydoke

    When the polls don't arrive at the results you want then they must be wrong, just ask Mitt.

    April 10, 2013 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  14. Derek

    So, essentially, "Don't believe those polls. Believe our polls"?

    April 10, 2013 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  15. Pander Bear

    Hey when reality gets a little too 'real, just posit your own!

    April 10, 2013 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  16. icurheinie

    Duh! We could have all predicted that one. All the right wing nuts have been in denial from the beginning. Doesn't Even kNow It's A Lie = DENIAL.

    April 10, 2013 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  17. Who me?

    Don't believe the polls..Where have I heard that before..?

    April 10, 2013 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  18. juanturnbeau

    " Don't believe the polls!" Yeah. That worked real well for romney too.

    April 10, 2013 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  19. Todd

    So his core point is that when he polls a group who 100% agrees with him, nearly everyone agrees with him? I'm pretty sure he shouldn't be allowed to own a firearm if he's that bad at statistics.

    April 10, 2013 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  20. bencanard

    Romney didn't believe the polls either; they were hokum. Where's Romney? Laughable. Be honest with yourself and us; you don't care what Americans who disagree with you think. You have an agenda and you're going to fight for it. Why can't you just say that? Don't have the courage?

    April 10, 2013 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  21. JMan

    I don't trust the government OR the NRA to be frank.

    Both sides have such an agenda that they won't accept compromise.

    April 10, 2013 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  22. Victor Maffei

    The gun lobby, NRA etc, are telling us in so many devious ways, that the tragedies caused by easily available weapons, are worthy sacrifices for their "rights" to own weapons. Another version of the foregoing is: SO WHAT!?!

    April 10, 2013 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  23. manhandler1

    Of course if the polls indicated 90% support for unlimited gun rights, these goofballs would be quoting them over and over.

    April 10, 2013 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  24. Anthony in California

    If this guy doesnt believe the polls, maybe he'd agree to let a popular vote (with no ties to any of their bought and paid for politicians) settle this. If those polls are wrong, he can put his money where his mouth is and let the American population determine what kind of safe world we will live in. 300,000k + 5 Million + 20 percent is going to win in America...

    Stick to paying off politicians to "filibuster" legislature intended for the the safety of us all from domestic terror orgs like his.

    April 10, 2013 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  25. oneWayfarer

    The Kind that Gun Nuts and Climate Deniers use to Dismiss SCIENCE and Other Works of the Devil

    April 10, 2013 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
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