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Sunday, July 14, 2024

New poll: Majority of Americans want stricter gun control, assult weapon ban

 (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Nearly six in 10 Americans want stricter gun laws in the aftermath of last month’s deadly school shooting in Connecticut, with majorities favoring a nationwide ban on military-style, rapid-fire weapons and limits on gun violence depicted in video games, movies and TV shows, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll.

A lopsided 84 per cent of adults would like to see the establishment of a federal standard for background checks for people buying guns at gun shows, the poll showed.

Three-quarters of Americans said they reacted to the Connecticut massacre with deep anger, while 54 per cent said they felt deeply ashamed it could happen in the United States.

President Barack Obama was set Wednesday to unveil a wide-ranging package of steps for reducing gun violence, expected to include a proposed ban on assault weapons, limits on the capacity of ammunition magazines and universal background checks for gun sales.

Many of the more restrictive proposals under consideration, such as the assault-weapons ban, would face stiff congressional opposition, particularly among Republicans.

By contrast, the general public appears receptive to stronger federal action following the Dec. 16 shooting spree at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., which claimed the lives of 20 children and six adults.

Some 58 per centfavour strengthening gun laws in the United States. Just 5 per cent felt such laws should be loosened, while 35 per cent said they should be left unchanged.

In comparison, after the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007, an Associated Press-Ipsos poll found that 47 per cent wanted stricter gun laws, 38 per cent thought they should remain as is and 11 per cent wanted to see them loosened.

Caroline Konczey, 63, a retired Navy officer from Indio, Calif., is among those supporting a ban on military-style assault weapons. “I can’t imagine why anyone would want one,” she said. “What do you do with that, unless you’re a collector?”

She suggested an underlying source of gun violence was the breakdown of the nuclear family and a lack of access to mental health care. “Until you strengthen the structure of the family that teaches respect for people, then this stuff goes down,” she said.

Specifically, majorities in the new poll favoured a nationwide ban on military-style, rapid-fire guns (55 per cent) and limits on the amount and type of gun violence that can be portrayed in video games, movies or on television (54 per cent). About half (51 per cent) of those surveyed back a ban on the sale of magazines holding 10 or more bullets.

At the same time 51 per cent said that they believed laws limiting gun ownership infringe on the public’s Second Amendment right to possess and carry firearms. Among Republicans, 75 per cent cited such infringement.

Most Democrats (76 per cent) and independents (60 per cent) back stricter gun laws, while a majority of Republicans (53 per cent) want gun laws left alone.

There is also a gender gap. Gun control is a more important issue for women, with 68 per cent saying it was very or extremely important to them, than for men (57 per cent). And women are more likely to back stricter gun laws: 67 per centfavour them, compared with 49 per cent of men.

“Military-style weapons should be military guns, not John Q. Public guns,” said Ellen Huffman, 55, of Huntersville, N.C., who supports a ban on assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Huffman said early detection of mental health problems would go a long way to curbing gun violence. If such problems are caught early enough “you won’t have people killing people,” she said.

Among gun owners, just 40 per cent back a ban on the sale of military-type, rapid-fire guns, and 37 per centfavour a ban on high-capacity magazines, while 66 per cent of non-gun owners would ban military-style weapons and 60 per cent would ban high-capacity magazines.

However, 80 per cent of gun owners do support federal standards for gun-show background checks, as do 87 per cent of non-gun owners.

Gun owners lean more Republican than the overall public. Fifty-five per cent of them are Republicans, compared with 30 per cent who are Democrats.

Overall, 3 in 10 said the shootings caused them to wonder whether you could really be safe anywhere these days, up slightly from 25 per cent after Virginia Tech, with parents more apt to react with deep worries about safety issues than non-parents.

And residents of the Northeast were much more likely than those in other regions to say the events in Newtown made them feel strongly that there may be too many guns in this country — 46 per cent, vs. 35 per cent reacting that way in the South, 30 per cent in the West and 28 per cent in the Midwest.

Max Lude, 70, a retired teacher from West Frankfort, Ill., said limiting magazines to 10 rounds “is probably the smartest thing they can do” to reduce mass tragedies. Mandatory background checks also would help, as would mandatory prison sentences for those convicted of gun grimes, said Lude, a National Rifle Association member and hunter-safety instructor.

“It’s a complicated problem with a complicated solution,” he said. “It’s not just a one-time, quick-fix deal.”

The gun control debate heated up after Adam Lanza, 20, shot his way into the Newtown school on Dec. 14 and killed 26 people before committing suicide. Lanza also killed his mother at her home before the shooting spree. His mother kept guns at the home she shared with her son.

The poll of 1,004 adults was conducted by telephone Jan. 10-14, 2013. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.


Associated Press writer Matthew Daly and AP News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius contributed to this report.




Copyright © 2013 The Associated Press. All right reserved.

Copyright © 2013 Capitol Hill Blue

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15 thoughts on “New poll: Majority of Americans want stricter gun control, assult weapon ban”

  1. I can’t make an argument regarding the assault ban. I know zip about guns. What I DO know is these mass killers are mentally ill. the worst domestic mass murder was the OKC bombing which killed 168 people. The weapon was a,truck bomb. I didn’ t see a rush to ban trucks nor fertilizer. Mental illness is the elephant in the room.

  2. Griff6r — ignorance is GOP. Do we need to look any further to see why the USA is falling behind in math and science when people like Griff6r can’t understand basic high school math? No wonder the GOP can spew unfounded attacks on the math and science of global warming and evolution with Griff6r and his ilk spreading snark instead of smarts.

    • Are you really pushing global warming in the midst of the coldest winter in decades and Solar Cycle 24 having the fewest sun spots in 50 years? Did you miss that China and Britain are having prolonged record cold, and Southern California even dropped below freezing?

      We’re in for a high in the 20’s in the Midwest in just another day or two. Last week was the same.

      Did you notice that Al Gore’s “documentary” An Inconvenient Truth, has been largely debunked and discredited, and the polar ice has returned?

      No polar bears have drowned. In fact, they have flourished.

      If you watched Deadliest Catch, you might have noticed they had a one of the worst blizzards in decades and the polar ice came clear down to the red crab grounds, which only happens every 10 or 20 years.

      Really, how much of what you have been told have you actually verified? Doesn’t seem odd a lot of other data out there directly contradicts what is being put out by the infotainment masquerading as news?

  3. New poll: Majority of Americans don’t want to have everything they ever built up in their lives destroyed instantly by a single 15c bullet.

    But more than one in four Americans say they can’t get enough of the Russian roulette we have nowadays.

    Maybe math isn’t the problem.

  4. I received an email this morning from the NRA blaming me for their trouble. I ripped up my NRA card several years ago and explained why I could no longer support their organization. I also left the GOP at the same time and they too blame me for their loss in 2012. Who knew that some old grandmother was the problem.

    I’ll accept this and continue to work for the equality for all Americans. The GOP had been a party of equality until 2000 when the religious right took over the party forcing all of us to accept Jesus Christ as our savior. That is not a qualification found in the Constitution. I lean to the Secular classification with no need for an assigned God. Religion is a choice and it is time that the GOP realizes this.

    In my many years of living in America I never once asked the people to choose the art, music or academics that were offered to me or my kids. I love the history found in the Old and New Testaments but there is no God offered to me except how to avoid hell and damnation. The GOP insults all of us to be required to believe in anything.

    I’ve spent many years on the Internet and it became more obvious that there was nothing to be found in the GOP. I was a Republican following the party of my family. I soon realized that the Party was on the verge of insanity and I left.

      • Yesh right…more than 300 million people and 1004 “random” people questioned?

        Gotta love bleeding heart liberals…

      • When I took statistics we were required to have our margin of error calculate to within 3 percentage points or else the data set was considered to be unreliable. The media often skews polls to match an agenda via biased samples and poll wording/design. Sometimes they don’t even realize they are doing it.

        The NRA gained 250,000 new members in the last month, which is seemingly a record. I am not an NRA member, and I do not endorse them or many of their ideas, but there membership increase does seem to indicate strong disagreement with the current push to remove our ability to defend ourselves and secure our God given right as free men.

        Likewise, many of the guns and magazines they are talking about banning are now on back order, with some going up to a year on a waiting list to get one direct from the manufacturer. Prices have doubled in just months and they still can’t keep them in stock. This too indicates a broad market for fire arms and flies in the face of what many in the mainstream media are claiming. There are not enough fire arm fanatics to buy out every gun, clip, and ammunition to cause this large a back order, PERIOD!

        “I can’t imagine why anyone would want one,” she said. “What do you do with that, unless you’re a collector?”

        I’d defend my home and secure my freedom from tyranny, something one might expect a former service member to understand considering they are sworn to defend the Constitution against all enemies.

        “Military-style weapons should be military guns, not John Q. Public guns,” said Ellen Huffman, 55, of Huntersville, N.C., who supports a ban on assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines.

        The Second Amendment is about maintaining our freedom and self defense. To do so, one must have access to equal arms that might be used against them. It’s sad so many people are ignorant to this fact.

        Going for my BSA Rangemaster training this March. It’s my hope to teach as many kids as possible in the proper use of fire arms. These types of things save lives, not prohibition. Just look at underage drinking for proof.

      • Because the NRA says so? I really doubt that’s true. Publish the NRA membership list and you’ve got the “too crazy to be allowed to have guns” list. What the NRA is doing is selling memberships on the lives of the children of Newtown. You can’t get more pathetic then that!

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