Gun Owners Vote?
The Numbers Say Otherwise.

By Ralph Weller

March 10, 2003 - I was only half-amazed at some of the responses to my article "California Gun Owners Blamed For Loss of Gun Rights" published March 3, 2003. I fully expected some negative email, but I didn't expect such viciousness. A couple of you need professional help because you're just plain sick.

To those who wrote to tell me you vote, thank you for your dedication to ensuring freedoms in this wonderful country of ours. It is people such as you that deserve praise for your efforts. You are the patriots in this fight to protect our constitutional rights. However, because you vote, don't assume most gun owners vote as a number of you stated. That just isn't the case.

To those who wrote to argue that the data is flawed, let's take it from the top with a little more detail.

People are on gun show mailing lists ALL OVER THIS COUNTRY! Some of you are having a hard time believing it. Here are the facts:

  • 12,000 people were on a gun show mailing list that reside in 56th Assembly District. To the one person who wrote and said there are no gun shows in the 56th AD, therefore the data is a lie... you sir are obviously not the brightest bulb in the factory. So we'll go on.
  • Those on the list receive a card in the mail announcing the gun show about one to two weeks before the show is held in the region.
  • The card offers a discount to get in or a chance for nice prizes if they bring the card to the show. It all depends on the gun show promoter. Some promoters do it. Some don't.
  • The card holder is given their discount in exchange for the card, or the card is put into a hopper for a drawing.
  • If you never bring the card your name is eventually dropped from the mailing list. Therefore, not all people who attend a gun show are on the mailing list.
  • If you are on the mailing list, you are in most instances, in all probability, a regular gun show attendee that brings the card to the show. Get it?
To get on the mailing list, some gun shows just let you sign-up at the show. Some people enter drawings that occur frequently during the day. Some let you sign up on their website. Yes, some gun show promoters have no mailing list, but a lot do.

How many more than the 12,000 attend gun shows from that district is unknown. Any guess is pure speculation. However, we do know that of those on the list, about 670 are registered to vote. You may find these numbers hard to believe. Trust me. Don't spend much time analyzing it because you are whizzing into the wind. If this were 12,000 people who shop at Vons or Ralphs and only 670 vote, it probably would be disturbing enough. But for them to be gun show attendees is deplorable.

Some of you said the data is skewed or erroneous because not all the people who attend gun shows are on the list. Does this mean those who aren't on the list vote, and those who are on the list don't vote? Where did you get your data? You don't have data. You have nothing!

One person said gun owners don't attend gun shows. He doesn't know one gun owner that attends so the data can't be right. Huh? Oh well.

Does the data mean that only 5.6% of ALL California gun owners are registered to vote? This is unknown. But 12,000 people is one heck of a large sample size. It is probably representative of the L.A. region. But, it is highly unlikely that San Diego, San Francisco and other heavily populated metropolitan areas have significantly varying numbers. Again, that's pure speculation based on the results of the 56th AD. Some of you are far better at speculation than I, based on some of the email I received.

Some of you couldn't understand how that data could be correlated accurately using a PC, specifically a gun show list to a voter registration list. Proclamations were then made that the data is false and how dare we publish such information. I'm always amused by people who draw different conclusions from the data but offer nothing to back up their assumptions.

Let me offer another scenario that some I know won't believe. Split the 12,000 names sorted appropriately across ten people armed with voter registration lists. The answer is provided within several hours of hard work. The election was in November, this is March. Do you think the Brantuk team had enough time to do this manually with reasonable accuracy? Do you really insist that a program must be written to sort the data by a MAC or PC in order to determine the results? Using that logic, the whole country must have been complete idiots prior to the advent of PCs in the early 1980s. I can assure you we were not.

If you continue to have lingering doubts about whether gun owners are on board, let me alleviate the internal pressure from within your cranium. Volunteer to work at a GOA, GOC, NRA or CRPA booth at a gun show with the express goal of registering voters. If you don't want to go home discouraged at the end of the day, it's not the thing to do. You won't believe the number of people who will refuse to register, and the unbelievable reasons they will give you why they won't. And, no matter how much persuasion you use, they will not budge an inch. I know, I've done it. You're lucky if you can get 1 out of 100 to register. I received a number of responses from people who have been equally frustrated by their "get out the vote" efforts. It's dismal to say the least.

Need more proof that gun owners don't participate? It is estimated there are at least 5 million people in California that own firearms. If you think that's over-estimated, cut it in half. Only about 60,000 belong to the California Rifle and Pistol Association. There are some 76 million gun owners in this country. Some number less than six million belong to ANY pro-gun organization. Do the math. It's clear that most gun owners are completely oblivious to what's going on, or simply don't care. A small minority are pulling the wagon for the rest of them. I want them off the wagon and helping to pull the load!

Every pro-gun organization has done sampling of voter registration records to their membership rolls. The number registered to vote is horribly low. If the pro-gun organization is honest with you, they'll tell you the truth. It isn't good. Pro-gun organizations wouldn't waste their money every election trying to get their own members to register and vote. They wouldn't have to spend good money preaching to the choir. They know a huge number aren't registered. But based on your email responses to my last article, a lot of you out there just aren't buying it. That's your opinion. You can certainly believe what you want. However, you are wrong and I defy anyone out there to come up with the data that would prove otherwise. It doesn't exist, at least not in the large metro areas of California.

And now, for the clincher. Los Angeles had an election March 4. The voter turnout was abysmal. 13% of registered voters made it to the polls. About 185,000 went to the polls out of 1.4 million registered voters. It's fair to say with all the anti-gun nonsense going on at the L.A. City Council recently, gun owners could have owned this election. The sad part of this is, not only did they not show up, hardly anyone showed up. And the people who did, put into office some of the most liberal anti-gun jerks one can imagine by large margins. Does the name Antonio Villaraigosa ring a bell? He was only one of the most rabid anti-gun Assembly Leaders ever to preside over the California Assembly. As of March 4, he's now a new L.A. City councilman. Do you think the pro-gun vote came out in droves when only 13% of registered voters went to the polls? Obviously not. And please, don't tell me there was no one else to vote for. ANYONE would have been better than this clown.

Why did former state Assemblyman Rod Wright, running for the 10th Council District in L.A., end up third with only 2100 votes? He's pro-gun to the hilt and a Democrat on top of it all! Where were the gun owners in a district that only mustered about 16,000 people to the polls? If the pro-gun vote went to the polls, Rod Wright would be on the L.A. City Council.

If the March 4 L.A. election is not illustrative of the problem we have with gun owners, at least in the L.A. area, I don't know what is.

To those who said the information is a lie or wrong: First, I don't lie. Secondly, if I screw up and publish bad information, I'll retract it as I have in the past. I'll make it available to everyone and I will take the heat quite deservedly. But folks, I don't lie. Everyone that knows me will back that up. I had a boss tell me once: "Weller, you're just too damn honest." I consider his criticism a badge of honor.

Lastly, to the person who said on one hand gun owners vote, but doubt that gun owners would sign up on a gun show mailing list because they are deeply distrustful of lists... you answered the problem in a nutshell. The same people who will say, 'oh not me, I'm not going register and be on a government list'... walk around with a driver's license and a social security card in their wallets and pay taxes every year. They routinely clean their handguns for which California has a record of the purchase if purchased since 1979. And their response is 'I don't want to be on a government list.' Good grief! Trying to get people to vote assumes you're talking with someone that has at least half their brain intact.

Press me with data folks, not your feelings. If you want feelings, hang around with liberals. The bottom line is this: A lot of gun owners aren't voting. They're either paranoid, ignorant of what's going on, don't care anymore, dropped out, or lazy. It may not be as bad in all regions of the state as some of you have speculated. But one thing is for certain: The L.A. region isn't going to win any patriot awards. The city elections results of March 4, 2003 back that up.

To win the battle statewide, we need gun owners in the major metro areas to do their part. The rural areas of California simply don't have the numbers to overcome the liberals in the cities. Gun owning urban dwellers need to get involved in the process of voting. One overwhelming statement made by a number of you from the rural areas of California, and I'm paraphrasing, was: 'We vote early and often in the rural counties, but the cities hold the destiny of California.' Without help from the cities, gun ownership itself will be challenged in the legislature by 2010. I know that's a target set by anti-gun factions. They want this state gun-free, or nearly so, by 2010. They are certainly well on their way to achieving it. We must stop it in the voting booth.

Do something useful with your life. Register, then vote!

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