FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!
Doug  Wyllie

Doug Wyllie

Doug Wyllie has authored more than 1,000 articles and tactical tips aimed at ensuring that police officers are safer and more successful on the streets. Doug is a Western Publishing Association “Maggie Award” winner for Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column. He is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers’ Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).

Lou Salseda

Lou Salseda

Lou Salseda is a retired LAPD sergeant with 34 years of law enforcement experience. He is the chief instructor of TAC-1 Defensive Firearms Training in Santa Clarita, Calif., and is a consultant for law enforcement training and litigation.

Nick Jacobellis

Nick Jacobellis

Nick Jacobellis is a medically retired U.S. Customs Agent and former New York police officer who was physically disabled in the line of duty while working undercover as a federal agent.

POLICE Readers Overwhelmingly Support Right to Bear "Assault Weapons"

Our exclusive survey shows law enforcement officers believe strongly in the Second Amendment and that includes the individual American's right to own, sell, and transfer magazine-fed, semi-automatic rifles with pistol grips and adjustable buttstocks.

April 06, 2018  |  by - Also by this author

Embed from Getty Images

Gun control has been a hot topic since February when 17 people were killed by an evil man in an attack on a Florida high school. Ever since that attack, a group of students from the targeted school have been demonizing the weapon used by the attacker and the National Rifle Association more than the murderer himself. These students have become media darlings, and their movement to ban the sale of and even confiscate "assault weapons" and "high-capacity" magazines has been endorsed by some high-ranking law enforcement officials, including Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel. But POLICE Magazine's research shows that few rank-and-file officers support such restrictions on the Second Amendment.

Last month POLICE Magazine conducted a survey of our readers and asked them a variety of questions about "assault weapons," magazine capacity, Second Amendment rights, their access to patrol rifles, and school shooting response training. You can read our full article in the April issue of POLICE or next week when it posts to But given the amount of coverage about gun control in the mainstream media and the attempts to portray officers as proponents of gun control, we wanted to give you a sneak peek at our findings.

First, a couple of notes.

Note One: Here's our methodology. The survey was sent via e-mail to 42,682 POLICE readers. Of that total, 2,599 responded and 315 were disqualified because they indicated that they were not law enforcement officers. (The other respondents self-identified as LEOs.) That gives us a total respondent population of 2,284 officers for a calculated margin of error of plus or minus 2%.

Note Two: We are using the term "assault weapon" in the April issue article and in this blog. We know that's a term that gun control proponents often use to get the public to confuse civilian semi-automatic rifles with select-fire military weapons for the purpose of making them sound scary. So it's a loaded term.  Which is why we use the term in quotes and are defining it in this article and did define it in our survey as a "magazine-fed semi-automatic rifle with a detachable magazine, pistol grips, and adjustable buttstocks."

According to our results, law enforcement officers overwhelmingly, at 91%, support the right of law-abiding Americans to "buy, own, and transfer" such rifles.

Support for restrictions on magazine size was a little more ambiguous. More than 31% of respondents said "yes" to magazine capacity limits. A follow-up question asked the officers what magazine capacity should be the maximum legal capacity for rifles and pistols. The most popular response was 30 rounds at 30%, followed by more than 50 rounds at 20%. About 16% of respondents to this question said there should be no limit to legal magazine capacity.

The legal age for buying firearms has become part of the gun control debate because the Florida high school shooter was able to legally buy an AR-15 variant rifle at 18. Slightly more than 50% of respondents in our survey said 18-year-olds should be legally permitted to buy firearms. About 42% of respondents would like to see 21 as the minimum age for firearm purchase.

Expanded background checks is another issue that has been raised in the aftermath of the Parkland school shooting. This measure has strong support among the readers of POLICE. More than 76% of respondents said they were in favor of expanding background checks for purchasing firearms.

The surveyed officers were split on the need for waiting periods for firearms purchases. A little more than 56% of respondents support waiting periods, while about 44% of respondents said they don't support waiting periods. Of those who support waiting periods for firearms purchases, the most popular waiting periods were three days at 21% and seven days at 15%.

Related Article:

Police Readers Support Concealed Carry, Romney for President

Comments (4)

Displaying 1 - 4 of 4

Jimbo @ 4/9/2018 3:17 PM

I'd prefer soldiers and cops only have these weapons to help protect those who serve.

Mike G @ 4/9/2018 5:40 PM

So let me get this straight. I can go overseas at 18, armed with a fully automatic assault weapon and be told to kill people but after doing that for my country, people want to propose that I can't buy a weapon until I am 21?

SSC1911 @ 4/21/2018 6:26 AM

A very well written article and survey. Sadly the shooting in Parkland, Fl. on Feb.14,2018 has ignited and the push to repeal the 2nd.Amendment and the push to ban AR 15, rifles, large/high capacity magazines and other items. The shooting was murder and the loss of life in Fl. was senseless. The blame lies with the shooter (perp Nikolas Cruz) instead of blaming an inanimate object the AR 15 rilfe. Since this shooting there have been many facts brought to light on the failures that allowed this tragedy to occur. If the "little snowflakes" want to do something constructive they should be thinking first about what they are doing trying todo eliminate the 2A with help from anti gunners. We have a right to keep and bear arms. Glad to see the survey results. There is a fight to preserve teh Second Amendment and that keesp all the other amendments in place too.

Patricia @ 7/20/2018 11:32 AM

"I'd prefer soldiers and cops only have these weapons to help protect those who serve."

Jimbo, The BJS data on 911 calls show police arrive in time to prevent about 2% of crime. Less than that for assaults, rape etc. Even in urban areas with fast response times, it is still less than 4%.
That is why survey after survey of actual law enforcement officers show they overwhelmingly oppose most gun control, especially bans on types of weapons.
Keep in mind the biggest school shooting in the US, at Virginia Tech, was with handgun. Handgun is actually likely more dangerous and more lethal in that it allows a shooter to blend in and move from target are to new target area. In the last ten years Europe has had much bigger mass killings than any in the US -- with a truck

Join the Discussion

POLICE Magazine does not tolerate comments that include profanity, personal attacks or antisocial behavior (such as "spamming" or "trolling"). This and other inappropriate content or material will be removed. We reserve the right to block any user who violates this, including removing all content posted by that user.

Other Recent Blog Posts

Foot and Hoof Patrol: Meaningfully Connecting Cops and Citizens
Foot patrol is the essence of community policing—officers on foot create opportunities for...
Arrive Alive: Police Must Reduce Single-Vehicle Crashes on Patrol
Too many officers are driving themselves into their graves—turning their cars into their...

Police Magazine