BELLEVUE, WA – The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms blasted recent public opinion polls showing support for bans on so-called “semiautomatic weapons,” noting that constitutionally-protected rights are not subject to what amount to popularity contests.
“Fundamental rights, including the right to keep and bear arms, must never be determined by the whims of survey respondents,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “We don’t have popularity contests to determine the rights of free speech or the press. We would hardly allow a public opinion poll to dictate whether people should worship in a church, mosque or synagogue. So, why would we think it’s allowable for a survey to tell us whether we should ban a whole class of firearms, when the Second Amendment has protected the rights of gun owners for more than two centuries?
“At the moment we allow ourselves to fall into this trap,” he continued, “we stop becoming a republic and start being an oligarchy, if not a dictatorship. This is not how rights are decided, because a right popular one week might fall out of favor the following week with a different polling sample, and then where would we be? Within a few weeks, we would have no rights at all.”
A recent poll in Washington State, for example, showed support for a ban on semi-auto rifles, based on a small poll sampling of fewer than 500 people. Previous national polls have shown varying degrees of popularity for outright gun bans or further restrictions on the rights of American gun owners.
“Anyone who honestly believes a survey should justify the erosion of any right guaranteed by our constitution needs a refresher course in high school civics,” Gottlieb observed. “Rights are special. We don’t need government permission to exercise them, nor do we need the blessing of a vocal minority, because in this country, citizens do not answer to the wishes of a mob.”