CNN Poll: No change on gun law opinions after Arizona shootings
January 17th, 2011
06:10 PM ET
7 years ago

CNN Poll: No change on gun law opinions after Arizona shootings

Washington (CNN) - Americans' overall attitudes toward gun laws have not budged an inch in the wake of the shootings in Arizona, according to a new national poll.

But a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday also indicates that majority of the public favors restrictions on semi-automatic guns and high-capacity ammunition clips, as well as background checks and limits on the number of guns that can be purchased.

The poll indicates that the two sides of the gun debate are evenly balanced, with one in seven Americans opposing any restrictions on guns at all and one in seven saying that all guns should be illegal except for police and other authorized personnel. Roughly a third support minor restrictions and roughly a third support major restrictions.

"Those numbers are identical to the results of a poll taken in the summer of 2009, indicating that the tragic events in Tucson have not changed how the public feels about gun laws," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "This is a familiar pattern in polling - surveys taken after previous incidents like the Columbine shooting have shown little or no change in Americans' attitudes toward guns."

A total of 19 people were shot January 8 at the "Congress on Your Corner" event at a Tucson supermarket. Authorities believe Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was the target of the mass shooting that left six dead and another 13 wounded. Giffords was upgraded from critical to serious condition Sunday, eight days after being shot in the head at the public event. A 22-year-old suspect, Jared Lee Loughner, is in custody.

According to the survey, several restrictions, however, are widely accepted. More than nine in ten Americans favor background checks to determine whether a prospective buyer has been convicted of a felony. Six in ten favor a ban on semi-automatic assault guns, and on the kind of extended ammunition clips which Jared Loughner allegedly used in Arizona. Fifty-five percent questioned say they also favor limiting gun purchases to one per month.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted Jan. 14-16, with 1,014 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Filed under: Arizona • Gun rights
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. GOP Taliban Victim

    America seriously needs to rebuild its mental health programs to get these type of nuts off the streets. Don't blame the law abiding citizens for the crimes of deranged lunatics that refuse to take their med's. The root cause is that in the 80's the government mental health programs were almost totally eliminated due to budget cuts. We need to round-up the mentally ill and get them off the streets. They pose a threat to society – as they constantly harass, injure or in this case kill innocent people. Mathematically there is a gigantic number of deranged nuts roaming the streets...ticking time bombs.

    January 17, 2011 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  2. ?

    should we be surprised? people who are these gun gripping idiots are just plain DUMB! i had a coworker who was shot in the neck point blank by a robber and he STILL insists on the belief that guns should be allowed...the 2nd amendment was the stupidist thing put in our consitution, it's just plain dumb! the fore fathers did not have oozies, semi automatic pistols etc..etc.. in mind or even in production when the consitution was signed!

    January 17, 2011 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  3. enuffcrapp

    What good would outlawing guns have to do with crazy people? What next, cars? Had he been smarter, he would have used a car! I believe Chicago has the highest murder rates in the country and I believe they are illegal there, oh, as well as Mexico... Guns don't kill people, people kill people! I don't think cars drive around by themselves drunk killing people, nor' do I believe spoons make people fat by themselves!

    January 17, 2011 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  4. Gene

    It is important to not under emphasize the tragedy that happened January 8th., and it is also important to realise that a restriction on common, standard capacity magazines is a bad idea.

    First you are restricting the ability of the law abiding person to defend themselves when faced against a group of criminals or one criminal who already has these magazine. (Take for example the person in New York City who had 24 people harrasing him at the front of his house. Even if they were limited to just ten rounds in their magazine, that's 240 shots against his 30 at best.)

    Second, these common capacity magazine have been out for many years and will still be out there if they do limit future ammunition magazines. All they will do is create the environment for the rapid buying of nonrestriced magazines until the change over happens and a large market for these magazines ,either legally of illegally, after it happens.

    Instead of focusing on what was used to kill and wound these great people, let's figure out how to stop these people from killing in the first place. Take away the reason and the how will fall away by itself.

    January 17, 2011 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  5. IK from Canada

    As a Canadian who enjoys significantly tighter gun restrictions and exceptionally lower gun violence statistics, I would like for one you right-wing, gun totting Americans to explain to me how 37% of a country as established and civilized as the U.S. can honestly say they are opposed to restrictions on assault rifles such as the AK-47? And if you have time after that, maybe you can also explain where the unrestricted right to bear arms comes from – last time I checked, "well regulated Militia" was also in the second amendment and it lead one to wonder where in a sane mind one would ever find a well regulated anything in a sea of unrestricted gun violence. But seriously, it says well regulated militia right in that first clause... how does that apply to Joe down the street who feels that having an AK-47 is necessary for the security of the nation? Anyone ever think that perhaps having a the most powerful military in teh world with access to unrestricted guns may suffice in protecting your nation? Or goes Grandpa in Nebraska really need an assault weapon in case a foreign enemy attacks?

    January 17, 2011 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  6. Moon

    If we left it up to people like "GOP Taliban Victim" only criminals would have firearems. Nuts like him are what cause these huge spikes in firearm purchases because Americans want the ability to protect themselves. Go ahead and keep scaring people and we willl not be able to buy ammo because it is being stock piled in gun safes. Go to any gun show almost any weekend in a large metropolitan area and you can see home & personal protection is hotter than ever.

    January 17, 2011 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  7. Ancient Texan

    There's no need for new gun laws, just enforce the existing ones. In this case no law was broken, just a mentally ill person, slipping through the cracks. He could as easily used a machete or pocket knife.

    January 17, 2011 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  8. CJ from Memphis, TN

    From Gene "Guns don't kill people, people kill people!"

    So by that logic, Laughner would have done just as much damage with his fists? Or a knife? A crossbow perhaps? You know had he had a nuclear bomb I bet he could have killed thousands!!!

    The logic that is being displayed by the phrase "Guns don't kill people, people kill people!" is so idiotic that I actually find it hard to beleive someone would use it. According to that same logic every family should be allowed a biological weapon because, afterall, the weapon has no apparent bearing on the outcome, its just another crazy person killing people.


    January 17, 2011 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  9. Common Cents

    The Bigger Issues – Both sides of this argument have valid points.
    Less guns, in general, will mean less shootings. Intoxicated, accidental, rage shootings could be avoided or reduced.
    However, more guns means folks can protect themselves and discourage others from crime against them as criminals would also fear being shot.

    January 17, 2011 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  10. AMERICA 1st

    assault weapons should be restricted only to those that have a reason to carry them

    January 17, 2011 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  11. Timothy

    Statistics have shown that restricting law abiding citizens rights to carry firearms, larger magazines or defensive ammunition has absolutely no effect on the homicide rates or firearm related deaths in the United States. Furthermore, criminals DO NOT obey the laws in the first place.

    Restricting the rights of persons who carry defensive firearms is akin to aiding and abetting the criminal element in this country.

    Little can be done in to those persons suffering from a mental illness like the Tucson perpetrator. This person would have figured out a way to harm someone regardless.

    Common sense needs to prevail! Knee jerk reactions to these tragic events are the reason so many bad laws are already on the books.

    January 17, 2011 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  12. Read My Lips

    The most Shocking fact of Tuscon – Where was the Security for our own Government..!??

    Republicans already moaning about providing protection – complaining, how much that gonna cost.!?

    Even at $100/yr per Congressman for a FULL Time pro Security guard – that is $4 million
    Yet – these same Republicans rubber stamped, borowed $TRILLIONS of US Taxpayer dollars to "protect" Iraqis w blank-check "military" contracts for their Pals..?? Still over $28 Billion "missing" w never 1 drop of investigation.

    January 17, 2011 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  13. ingrid

    Dear Enuff Crap, I hate the argument guns do not kill people, people kill people. The NRA certainly loves you. There is NOTHING wrong with limiting access to certain guns. I am sick of the access to guns our society has. Gun lovers always like to have the scenario of one person against a group of home invaders, gangs and I am sure random crazy mobs, but I am not sure what neighbor they are living in, but that is not the reality. Too many guns kill people. That is why the little five year old who gets access to a gun kills his mom/dad/brother. IF there had not been a gun in his home, that would not have happened. PERIOD. Your reaction: his family was at fault for allowing access. True, but again, if there were not a gun, the accident would not have happened.

    January 17, 2011 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  14. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Let them have their guns, just stop making bullets.

    January 17, 2011 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  15. Veritas Vincit

    For those of you wishing stricter gun control by the government, I invite you to emigrate to Mexico where private gun ownership is illegal. There you will be completely safe from any gun violence since guns are illegal.

    For those of you who wish for a more structured society while also maintaining strict gun control, we invite you to explore the China option. There you will be completely free from any random violence, just be sure to pay all of your toll road charges or you too can serve a life sentence providing 100% voluntary service to the state. Oh, and be sure to check out their birth to grave health care plan too!!

    To those of you who have a penchant for freedom, the welcome mat is out in Arizona.

    January 17, 2011 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  16. Len

    The gun that was used was a gun to kill people and the Congresswoman was not shot at a Tasty Freeze buying a cone, she was at a political event and was the target. The Suspect has to be a mental case, but we do not need to have guns like the one that was used in this country, except for the military and law enforcement. Reinstate the assult weapon ban. If people want to own a hunting gun, or a hand gun because they are scared so be it. I just don't think that the suspect was a member of a controlled militia.

    January 17, 2011 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  17. BJtraz

    Responses, like the one above (?) is expected from the uninformed. Using their very own theory, The 1st amendment must also be revoked. Our fore fathers had no idea how dangerous free speech could be. They had no idea of the internet/TV/Radio "in mind or even in production when the Constitution was signed". Should all technology be reverted to 1776? Independent study after independent study has documented that gun restrictions do not reduce violence or crime. All gun restrictions do is subjugate law abiding citizens. Hitler, Stalin and Mao all knew this.

    January 17, 2011 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  18. once upon a horse

    Let's face it for what it is folks, the gun laws in this country less known in Arizona are NEVER going to change because the gun lobby, right wingers and NRA rule with one of the most powerful grips that they have and that's FEAR! Case in point, whenever a Democrat is elected to the White House or they take over the majority in Congress the first thing the lobby cries out is "They gonna take our guns away!!" and they all run out to buy more guns and ammo. They did that just now in Arizona when it was feared the law was going to change gun purchases went up over 50%. President Obama was accused of going to take thier guns away when all he really did was sign into law that they can now carry them in our National Parks. (funny the far right and NRA seem to forget he did that) The USA is a gun culture society and I don't see it changing. They'll be another shootup someplace and we'll go through all of this again and nothing will be done in the end. We'll just hear the constant saying "guns don't kill people, people do"!

    January 17, 2011 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  19. Sam Sixpack

    About all you can do is just keep spewing that left-wing rhetoric 24/7 and hope there are still enough gullible people to vote for your crooked policies. Republicans think whoever has the most money should get special treatment. Democrats think whoever has the most degrees should get special treatment. Unless you're one of those two groups, you just get lied to – from both sides. Oh, and by the way, for the 100th time, it still says "Comments are not pre-screened..." below this box. After so many reminders, at this point, I think that's a "lie."

    January 17, 2011 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  20. Thomas C Bogan

    With rising gun ownership, and a continuing drop in violent crime, according to the FBI statistics, the only people who advocate "gun control" are either ignorant, or they have a political agenda to push.
    Gun control is not about guns, or safety, nor is it "for the children". It is about control of the populace, it is about some self serving politician getting their name in the paper.
    Why would some one be so foolish as to think people who disregard laws against murder, rape, and robbery are suddenly going to obey laws against guns ?

    January 17, 2011 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  21. Matt Grimes

    Why don't we just ban crazy people or being crazy? Seems just as logical to me as banning firearms, multi round magazines and such. Notice how much safer Chicago, Washington D.C. and other cities who ban guns have become over the years? We banned drugs and made them illegal and now nobody uses them anymore and the Mexican cartels just make do selling coffee to Starbucks. Wait, that didn't happen? Oh, I guess maybe banning things or laws have no effect on the lawless it seems. Maybe it just gives the lawless a new and greater market in which to operate or greater piece of mind knowing that more victims of their crimes will be unable to do anything to persuade them not to be preyed upon. I guess that's why they didn't ban AK-47's and IED's in Afghanistan and then just walk in and have a slap fight with the insurgents. Probably not the way to go, hey.

    January 17, 2011 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  22. It's a magazine, not a clip.

    They are not clips, they are magazines. There are a very few types of semi-automatic rifles that use true clips, such as the M1 Garland, but those are eight round capacity. There is no such thing as a "high-capacity clip." There are no clips for common pistols either. (Stripper clips for AR-15 pistols being an obscure exception.)

    After 32 years of American anti-firearm propaganda, you'd think authors would use the correct terminology. Loughner did not have any clips on his person; he had magazines.

    January 17, 2011 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  23. Aaron

    The gun is just a tool, it won't do anything all by itself. The failure here was to report this person. Had the proper people been notified he would have had a mental evaluation and they would have known of his problem beforehand which would have shown up on his background check.

    January 17, 2011 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  24. FreedomBaby

    0.1%. Crimes committed with LEGALLY owned guns. The idiot liberals continue to ignore this FACT! It gets in the way of their agenda. Gun control does nothing to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. However, it does a lot to get them out of the hands of law abiding citizens. The liberals soft stance on crime has helped create this issue.

    January 17, 2011 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    The Second Amendment was the 'stupidest thing" put into our Constitution? Please..... Your argument is not thought out, and ignores many, many facts, too numerous to mention here. Hopefully all who read your post simply ignore it as the writing of an uneducated, knee-jerk reactionary...

    January 17, 2011 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
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