More than half of American adults, including a majority of gun owners, think the federal government threatens their liberty, according to a national survey just released by the Pew Research Center for People & the Press.
The survey, conducted Jan. 9-13 by Pew, revealed that 53 percent of the respondents think their rights and freedoms are under threat. Seventy-six percent of conservative Republicans are concerned for their rights and freedoms, and of those people, 54 percent “describe the government as a ‘major threat’,” the Pew Research Center said.
It’s the first time this has happened, and it is a significant shift from a poll taken in March 2010 that showed only 47 percent of the people felt the federal government posed a threat to personal freedoms and rights. Long story short: People do not trust the government, and it has been a steady decline since Dwight Eisenhower was president.
The survey contacted 1,502 adults, also revealed that this concern is much higher among conservative Republicans and gun owners than among acknowledged Democrats.
Among gun owners, 62 percent believe the government is a threat, Pew reported, while only 45 percent of the non-gun owners have this concern. One month ago, the Daily Kos ran an alarming piece on how government could abolish gun ownership.
According to Pew, the survey was conducted by interviewers at Princeton Data Source “under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates International,” from among adults age 18 or older by telephone or cell phone in all 50 states. Interviews were conducted in both English and Spanish.
Survey results were released Thursday virtually without notice, and it came near the end of a week that saw congressional hearings on “gun violence” and, here in Washington, a new high in the number of citizens who have concealed pistol licenses.
There is growing concern that the Obama administration will push for significant restrictions on gun owner rights, including a ban on semiautomatic rifles and pistols. In Washington State, legislation has been introduced that would, according to critics, establish a de facto gun registry by requiring “universal background checks” on all gun transactions.
Gun rights activists see their rights under attack as never before as the gun prohibition lobby, which backs President Barack Obama, continues to exploit the Sandy Hook tragedy. On Monday there is a Seattle Town Hall meeting on guns as a public health hazard. On Tuesday the Oak Harbor City Council could host a fiery meeting over an illegal ordinance banning guns in parks that a simple housekeeping measure could solve.
The late Charlton Heston said it best. He called it a “Cultural War.” The lines are clearly drawn and the first shots long ago fired. It is no longer possible for the sides to “Agree to disagree.”