CNN Poll: Gun control opinions following shootings
August 9th, 2012
01:00 PM ET
2 years ago

CNN Poll: Gun control opinions following shootings

Washington (CNN) - Americans' attitudes toward gun control have remained steady in the wake of the recent shootings in Colorado and Wisconsin, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/ORC International poll released Thursday indicates that the public remains divided on the issue, with 50% saying they favor no restrictions or only minor restrictions on owning guns and 48% supporting major restrictions or a complete ban on gun ownership by individuals except police and other authorized personnel.

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Those numbers are identical to where they were in 2011, and the number who support major restrictions or a complete ban has remained in the 48%-to-50% range for more than a decade.

"Not surprisingly, there are gender and ideological gaps on this issue, with more than six in ten women and two thirds of self-described liberals supporting major restrictions or a complete ban, compared to just 34% of men and 36% of self-described conservatives," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "And major restrictions on guns are most popular in urban areas and in the Northeast than in the rest of the country."

What specific restrictions do Americans favor?

The poll indicates that two meet with almost unanimous approval: Ninety-six percent are in favor of background checks and 91% support laws to prevent convicted felons or people with mental health problems from owning guns.

Three-quarters of people questioned favor gun registration with local governments, and roughly six in ten favor bans on the sale or possession of semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips. But 54% oppose a limit on the number of guns an individual can own, and only one in ten think that all Americans should be prevented from owning guns.

"It's important to note that the numbers on those proposals have also remained essentially unchanged in the wake of the recent shootings," adds Holland.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International Tuesday and Wednesday (August 7-8), after Sunday's shootings at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin and after last month's shootings at a movie theater in Colorado.

One-thousand and ten adult Americans were questioned by telephone in the survey. The poll's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this story

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Filed under: CNN/ORC poll • Gun rights
soundoff (228 Responses)
  1. Thomas

    Six in ten favor bans on the sale or possession of semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips.

    So we need to wait till eight in ten ?

    August 9, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  2. BinaryTooth

    I'm with Obama to disarm Americans!!!!!!!

    Obama 2012

    August 9, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  3. nugun

    9 in 10 don't even know what a semi automatic is....

    I'd love to see the questions in the poll?

    Do you believe laws should be tougher on criminals with guns? Yes...

    August 9, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  4. Canuck

    America is completely awash in guns, what a society you have created.

    August 9, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  5. Nancy

    IIf everybody can have the right to bare arms to protect their family, then every nation should have the right to nuclear power to protect their country.

    August 9, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  6. Nelson Colorado Springs Co.

    No gun control you can read about break in everyday. In Colorado need more right carry. More gun control will not stop the criminal from getting a gun

    August 9, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  7. open400

    If someone needs 6,000 rounds, a gun magazine that holds 100 rounds and a semi-automatic assualt rile, the person is up to no ggod. What is even more disturbing is that any lunatic or American-born domestic terrorist can do this legally!!

    August 9, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    96% favor background checks
    91% support laws to prevent convicted felons or people with mental health problems from owning guns
    75% favor gun registration with local governments
    60% favor bans on the sale or possession of semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips

    None of those things are "per se" infringements on 2nd Amendment rights. That means that conversations about how to effectively implement them while balancing 2nd Amendment rights need to take place NOW.

    August 9, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  9. J Murphy

    No, just until 11 out 10 oppose it, but the the NRA will sponsor a republican led filllibuster so we still won't have any reasonable restriction on guns in the US.

    August 9, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  10. indianriver

    Ban all you want...it still won't prevent a black market. Only law-abiding citizens respect laws...gun laws would not be of any relevance to a person bent on committing a violent crime. Would be no different than a car-bomber being worried if he/she is double-parked. In places where the police cannot be, and since NO-ONE favors a police-state, you must allow the government to entrust proven members of society the right to carry for when the police are not available (police can be just as dangerous when armed in public) so that if a felony is in progress a citizen arrest can be made. People forget about this little-known law...

    August 9, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  11. wildernessyes

    I am on the 48% side. Guns are a menace and they need to go. Until then, people that shoot their guns on any property that is not their own, should be forced to pick up their bullets. This is litter, plain and simple. It is no different than throwing out the McDonald's bag. Once the bullet is picked up, it can be returned for another bullet. Do the right thing and stop the gun littering today, and the gun killing.

    August 9, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  12. Paul

    Good thing my semi-autos don't need clips, just magazines.

    It'd be nice if people actually knew something about what they were trying to ban.

    "Oh, this gun looks scary! Ban it! Ban it now! Now that one's just a harmless highly accurate single shot bolt action, that couldn't possibly kill anyone, it doesn't look scary at all."

    August 9, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  13. Fish Food

    It doesn't matter what the 1,010 people think. The right to bear arms is in the constitution. The day that original freedom (along with press, religion, etc.) goes away is the day this country ceases to exist.

    August 9, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  14. Tom

    6 in 10 what, people who call 911 and say "please hurry there is someone in my apartment trying to kill me"?

    The other 4 stopped the intruder themselves. So they are not in favor of a ban.

    August 9, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  15. Truth be told

    The government does not have the authority to regulate firearms. End of conversation. I will always own whatever I want, when I want. So will millions of others. I do not ask permission. Never have.

    August 9, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  16. canniwander

    It would be better if we waited until it was only 2 in 10, then politely asked them to leave.

    August 9, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  17. Bryan

    The most sold firearms are semi automatic pistols and rifles, so, I don't believe CNN.

    August 9, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  18. canniwander

    It would be better to wait until there were only 2 out of 10. Then we could politely ask the to relocate.

    August 9, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  19. Truth be told

    Gun control is one type of legislation that we will ignore.

    August 9, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  20. Don

    How is this surprising considering more than 50% of the population has no concept of hunting. Why don't they list where these people live? City or rural.

    August 9, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  21. keshalaws

    What's crazy is that all of the mass killers have passed background checks to get their guns...so supporting something that's already in the works is obviously not helping the problems with mass killings. Something else needs to be done.

    August 9, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  22. Al

    Not many guns actually use clips. Maybe we should know what the questions are asking in these polls. I bet 6 in ten also favor legalization of pot. We are becoming a nation that is dependent on the govment. When this gets worse we wil have even more issues than we do now. Polls like this are pointless.

    August 9, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  23. fred37ify

    hose numbers are wrong ! 43% of Republicans and 21% of Democrats are gun owners ! That means 64% of Americans are against gun control ! If this article was right Barrack would be all over gun control ! As it is, that would be political suicide for him ! The numbers I listed are from the FBI statistics !

    August 9, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  24. Boo

    Welcome to the United States of Stupidity.

    August 9, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  25. Bob

    Sorry, but any conservative man who purports to support a ban on guns is neither.

    August 9, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
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