The 10 questions Everytown should have asked on its ‘Gun Sense Voter’ questionnaire

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John Feinblatt, the president of Everytown for Gun Safety, appears on MSNBC to discuss the 'Not One More' campaign spawned in the wake of the spree killing in Isla Vista, California.  (Photo: Everytown)

John Feinblatt, the president of Everytown for Gun Safety, appears on MSNBC to discuss the “Not One More” campaign spawned in the wake of the spree killing in Isla Vista, California. (Photo: Everytown)

As part of its campaign to convince voters to support politicians who back tougher gun laws, Everytown for Gun Safety released a questionnaire on Monday aimed at getting candidates to disclose where they stand on various gun-control measures.

“For decades the NRA has asked candidates about their positions on guns – now we’re going toe-to-toe with the gun lobby and asking candidates 10 yes-or-no questions about preventing the gun violence that kills 86 Americans every day,” said John Feinblatt, President of Everytown for Gun Safety, in a press release.

“We know where the American public stands – more than 90 percent support common-sense gun safety measures like background checks – now it’s time for political candidates to tell us where they stand,” he continued.

Since the group’s main focus has been lobbying for universal background checks since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012, it was not at all surprising that roughly half of the questions on the survey asked about laws designed to expand background checks and keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous people, for example:

  • “Do you support requiring background checks for all gun sales (with reasonable exceptions such as for transfers between close family members and temporary transfers for hunting and self-defense)?”
  • “Do you support legislation that would level the playing field by treating sites like Armslist as licensed gun brokers, and require a background check every time someone buys a gun through one of these sites?”
  • “Do you support an increase in congressional funding for the federal grant programs that help states submit their records?”

While gun owners can perhaps find common ground with the Bloomberg-funded group on some of the questions listed, there are others that are set up to be definite deal breakers. One of which inquires if the candidate supports limits on magazine capacity while the other takes a stab at National concealed carry reciprocity, stating that it “would overturn state public safety laws and replace them with a lowest common denominator standard.”

Though, to its credit, Everytown does provide room on the questionnaire for candidates to explain why they answered in the manner that they did, noting that opposing a safety policy is not necessarily a statement against gun sense.

Even with the disclaimer, however, I felt that the Everytown “Gun Sense Voter Federal Candidate Questionnaire” was in need of a complete makeover. With that in mind, here are true “gun sense” questions Everytown SHOULD HAVE listed in its survey (to compare with the original questions, click here).

1. Do you know the essential rules of firearm safety?

2. Do you oppose a national gun registry of law-abiding gun owners?

3. Do you support ‘shall-issue’ concealed carry laws that prevent local law enforcement officers from arbitrarily denying one a CCW permit even though the applicant has passed a background check, filled out the required paperwork and (in many states) completed a gun safety training course?

4. Do you oppose taxing fundamental constitutional rights, e.g. requiring prospective gun purchasers to pay fees to FFLs so that gun shop dealers can run background checks and facilitate transfers between two law-abiding gun owners who reside in the same state?

5. Do you agree that guns are used more often to thwart crime than they are used to perpetrate it?

6. Do you believe the names and addresses of concealed carry permit holders should NOT be made public?

7. Do you believe individuals are ultimately responsible for the safety of themselves, their family and property?

8. Do you own a firearm (or do you solely rely on armed bodyguards for personal protection)?

9. Do you believe the Second Amendment is: an individual right, a limited individual right that applies only in the context of militia service or a collective right that refers to a state government’s right to keep well-regulated militias?

10. Following the expiration of the Clinton-Era ban on so-called “assault weapons” gun-related violence declined suggesting that tougher regulations on certain firearms and firearm-related accessories have an immaterial effect on crime rates. Given this reality, do you agree that it would defy common sense and logic to place bans on commonly owned and widely popular sporting rifles and magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammo?

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Bill Maggiora September 2, 2015, 10:31 pm

    I think S.H. Blannelberry’s July 8, 2014 list of questions that Everytown should have asked had one flawed question:
    Question 6, Do you believe the names and addresses of concealed carry permit holders should NOT be made public?
    I would write question 6 more broadly: Do you believe the names and addresses of gun buyers, gun owners or concealed carry permit holders should NOT be made public?

    Handgun permit holders have already been outed after Sandy Hook when The Journal News in December 2012 posted permit holder names and addresses for New York’s Westchester and Rockland counties to their web site.) It is just a matter of time until governments at all levels regularly leak gun buyer, owner and carry permit info to punish gun owners individually or as a group in the rest of the country.

  • tom July 21, 2014, 9:59 pm

    The questions posed in the “Not One more” questionaire are akin to asking if one has stopped beating their wife. The question cannot be answered directly without the questionee being made to look like a wife beater.

  • tom July 21, 2014, 9:20 pm

    So, Mr. Feinblatt, please answer yes or no, Have you stopped beating you wife?

  • Russ July 14, 2014, 1:40 pm

    Don’t ask questions, teach U.S. History
    Show this video-> Best 7 minutes on gun control I have ever seen!

  • Scott Sagman July 14, 2014, 8:51 am

    I find it difficult to even complete reading the questionnaire because rather than just ask the questions the surrey provides “information” that is obviously meant to sway the reader. There are no footnotes as to the accuracy of the information in the questionnaire. I believe a questionnaire is to illicit your opinion…not sway it. If the questionnaire is an information gathering tool then it need to be used that way. At least in your proposed 10 questions “questions” they are simply asked. If there is a bias in your questions the respondent can opt not to answer that question or like the 1st questionnaire there could be a place to fill in comments.

  • Mark Shean July 14, 2014, 7:24 am

    “But to ban guns because criminals use them is to tell the innocent and law-abiding that their rights and liberties depend not on their own conduct, but on the conduct of the guilty and the lawless, and that the law will permit them to have only such rights and liberties as the lawless will allow. …
    For society does not control crime, ever, by forcing the law-abiding to accommodate themselves to the expected behavior of criminals.
    Society controls crime by forcing the criminals to accommodate themselves to the expected behavior of the law-abiding.” Jeff Snyder

    I am a former law enforcement firearm instructor and have also taught the State criteria as an instructor since 2000. I have been actively involved in organized shooting sports for 50 years, this is no hobby horse for me.

    On my website I wrote an article that may be helpful as well: http://mafirearmsafety.com/2010/05/gun-sense-21-shooting-not-mandated/

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