California Republican Rep. Steve Knight used cherry-picked results from a non-scientific poll on his website to avoid angering his NRA donors.
In the aftermath of the school shooting in Florida, Americans are demanding action from Congress on the gun violence epidemic. Yet rather than listening to his constituents, Knight is desperately trying to appease gun safety opponents.
Knight used taxpayer resources to put a poll on his official congressional website asking constituents about gun violence. The poll covered topics such as banning assault rifles, implementing background checks, and views on gun regulations.
But Knight has kept the results of the poll secret. The information is not available on his website, nor has he used social media to share the data.
But national polls show a clear answer on these questions.
According to the Quinnipiac University National Poll, “American voters support stricter gun laws 66 — 31 percent,” including “50 — 44 percent support among gun owners.”
Support for banning assault rifles is supported by almost a 40-point margin. And support for background checks is a “near universal” 97 percent of Americans.
But numbers like those won’t make the NRA happy. So Knight cherry-picked a small subset of answers to his own poll in a recent press release, pretending the non-scientific results were legitimate.
“In a recently conducted online survey, Rep. Knight polled approximately 2,600 voluntary respondents on a variety of issues related to gun violence and safety,” the press release read. “Approximately 65% of respondents supported more community engagement to report suspected individuals and inform appropriate parties. In addition, over 75% supported better enforcement of existing laws.”
Those numbers correspond to a question in Knight’s poll that allowed respondents to choose more than one answer as to what could “help prevent gun-related violence in America.”
Knight is using the responses, as well as conversations with law enforcement professionals, to help write legislation “with the explicit purpose of detecting, stopping, and better responding to school shooting threats.”
But it’s not a bill to prevent gun violence more broadly, nor is it intended to deal with the ready availability of assault rifles. Knight has voted repeatedly to loosen gun laws, including making it easier for those with mental health issues to obtain guns.
Indeed, he seems intent on not doing anything that could upset the organization or jeopardize his “A” rating.
And even after the tragedy in Parkland, he isn’t seeking to address the actual concerns of Americans regarding gun violence.
He is hiding behind a fake poll to justify a weak response to the crisis. Indeed, sporting goods stores are doing more than Republicans like Knight.
No wonder he is California’s most vulnerable lawmaker.