An authoritative new poll of more than 15,000 cops released on the eve of this week's Senate anti-gun debate shows that a sweeping majority of officers don't believe gun control will work or keep them safer, and nearly nine in 10 believe having more armed citizens would curb gun violence.
According to the lengthy survey of law enforcement professionals, one of the largest ever of street cops, 85 percent believe that President Obama's gun control plan to ban assault weapons, limit the size of ammo magazines and expand background checks won't improve their safety, with just over 10 percent believing it will have a "positive effect."
The poll from PoliceOne.com, a site dedicated to police policy and news, also found surprising support for arming citizens. The poll found that 86 percent of officers believe that casualties would be decreased if armed citizens were present at the onset of a shooting. Another 81 percent backed arming teachers, as the National Rifle Association has called for.
"Quite clearly, the majority of officers polled oppose the theories brought forth by gun-control advocates who claim that proposed restrictions on weapon capabilities and production would reduce crime," said PoliceOne.com. "In fact, many officers responding to this survey seem to feel that those controls will negatively affect their ability to fight violent criminals."
The poll found support for police executives and some 15 state sheriffs associations who have vowed not to enforce any gun control legislation coming out of Washington. Those groups claim that the proposals violate the Second Amendment and punish the innocent.
Other poll findings:
-- 71 percent said a ban on semi-automatic weapons would have no effect on reducing violent crime.
-- 59 percent said increasing punishments for illegal gun trafficking would reduce crime.