In the aftermath of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, Americans are demanding Congress take steps to make our country safer. Rather than listening to what constituents want, Rep. Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) is hiding behind cherry-picked results from a non-scientific poll he posted on his own website to avoid taking any action that could anger his NRA donors.
Knight used taxpayer resources to put a poll on his official Congressional website asking constituents to answer a series of questions about gun violence, including banning assault rifles, background checks, and the desire for looser or tighter gun regulations.
But Knight refuses to share the results of his poll. There is no way to see the results on his website, nor has he used social media to share them.
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, 67 – 29 percent, and support for background checks is a “near universal,” 97 percent of Americans.
Rather than release all of his results, Knight cherry-picked a small subset of answers in a recent press release about legislation he intends to introduce, pretending the results from a non-scientific poll are 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. 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.”
Both 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.”
Importantly, Knight is very specific in the purpose of his legislation. It is not a bill to prevent gun violence more broadly, nor is it intended to deal with the ability of anyone to obtain an assault rifle. As a member with an “A” rating from the NRA, Knight seems intent on not doing anything that could upset them.
After all, Knight has voted repeatedly to loosen gun laws, including making it easier for those with mental health issues to obtain guns.
After the tragedy in Parkland, Knight isn’t seeking to address the major concerns of Americans, such as the availability of military-style assault rifles or loopholes in background checks.
He is hiding behind some answers on a fake poll to justify a weak response to the crisis of gun violence in America. Sporting goods stores are doing more than Republicans like Knight.
Voters are demanding that politicians stop bowing and scraping before the NRA, but Knight clearly values their donations and endorsement over the will of the American people.
No wonder he is California’s most vulnerable lawmaker.