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. tray

    wow, so 50% of the population favors a police state where only the authorities have guns. scary. its right around the corner, the gun ban will be the official end of the USA and freedom. At that point the UN tanks will roll in, and Christians will be executed.

    August 9, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  2. jennifer holland

    Death is a billion-dollar business in the US – that's why you won't see gun control in this country – ever.

    August 9, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  3. MI Snow

    I don't think Ole' Ben would be in favor of 100-clip semi-automatic AR-15s / AK-47s...

    August 9, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  4. Mmmmm

    "When guns are outlawed only the outlaws will have guns."

    And for the person who says the NRA wants to sell guns to the Mexican cartels, that would be the Fed you may want to direct your anger towards. Last I read, they were in charge of the ATF and their murderous dealings down south.

    August 9, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  5. Unit34Ahunter

    I support the private ownership of fully automatic firearms (which most citizens are not allowed to purchase) and I oppose any scheme to collect or store information containing the names and addresses of firearms owners.

    August 9, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  6. ATLguy17

    Try getting control of all the illegal guns on the streets first, then get back to all the rest of us law abiding citizens who own guns legally. Good luck.

    August 9, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  7. Jay

    I'm not a conservative, but I'm come to the conclusion that since guns have become available; America has become safer then ever before. Just because the news always captures reports of violence, it should not manipulate people into thinking America is a more dangerous place to live in. We are safer Today then we ever were before, stop being wimps.

    August 9, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  8. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of OBAMA FAILURE

    Thank God our Founding Fathers thought ahead and gave us the Second Amendment. They foresaw the way sooo many people would eventually become sheep, relinqueshing more more more of their God given rights to a federal government that wishes to take more and more of them away.

    August 9, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  9. $am

    It's too late anyway with millions of assault weapons in circulation. The NRA has guaranteed us a deadly and dangerous future!

    August 9, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  10. check-raiser

    So gun control means we need to take the guns away from the people who never committed these atrocities. Lol that will never work. Look at Norway, recently they had a gunman who shot and killed over 60 people and they are among the countries with the strictest gun control laws in the world. What guns did the Oklahoma city bomber use ... none he used a bomb. Using gun control as a argument to prevent tragedies is a lib tards dream but they will be tragedies in the future regardless of any measure, if someone wants to kill they will find a way. Crime spikes when law abiding citizens disarm themselves ...look at the Uk, rape to women shot up 400% and violent crimes went up 1000% after gun ban was enacted. Gun control should mean following existing laws like a NIC check which is a background check at the time of purchase and keeping two hands on the gun lol

    August 9, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  11. Gun Hater

    This country's birth rights are messedup especially when it comes to gun laws. How many more innocent people should die??? what is the percentage of people who actually have defended themselves with a gun against an attacker??

    Innocent people getting killed in a theater, temple, school wherever will continue to occur in the United States as long as comman man has access to guns.

    It is just common sense that a knife can kill maybe a person or two but guns can kill a lot within seconds.

    Wake up Americans!!!! Next thing you know your kids will be taking your guns to schools thinking they can protect themselves and it is already happening in some cities.

    August 9, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  12. pbernasc

    rephrased: Americans stand stupid on guns, where stupid means self inflicting damage for no particular purpose but satisfaction to inner ego issues

    August 9, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  13. Bob

    Total ban? It just shows how ignorant people are. The recent Heller decision by the US Supreme Court ruled that the handgun bans in DC, Chicago and San Fran were entirely unconstitutional. Those laws were abolished. It also clearly defined the right to bear arms as an individual right.

    August 9, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  14. mgc tampa

    For some reason there is a love affair with guns in this country, its puzzling. You don't see this elsewhere in the world but what the heck we are fast becoming a country that doesn' t believe in science either...the dumbing down of america.

    August 9, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  15. Justice1

    A semi-automatic firearm is one which fires a projectile with each pull of the trigger. By definition ALL firearms are semi-automatic. Automatic firearms are NOT sold to the general public.

    August 9, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  16. z2cents

    Wonder how many of the 50% have lost a loved one to a crazed shooter. The hope is that if anybody gets shot, it be the ones who support guns with less control.

    August 9, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  17. Craig

    Check out these statistics. Last year handguns killed 8 people in England, 52 people in Canada, 48 people in Japan, 21 people in Sweden, 42 people in West Germany......and, get ready for it....10,728 people killed with handguns in the USA alone. And Americans don't think they have gun problems?

    August 9, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  18. truth4you

    get off gun control guns dont' kill people and all of you complaining about "high capacity magazines" high capacity as compared to what ? single shot ? get over yourself the gun isnt' to blame its the idiot that uses it wrong and on another not you can all THANK the high capacity magazine in the Co. shooting for not killing more since it JAMMED ! and the 100 round mas have a high rate of malfunction that result in jamming...but oh yes thats the problem and what no one seems to be asking here about Co...he went out a rear exit ...in every theater I have seen those are FIRE EXITS with alarms on the door otherwise what woudl keep you from paying for 1 ticket bumping it open and letting 10 of your buddies in ? no alarm wen off as he went out the door...why is that ? but yes do belittle the deaths of those in the Co shooting by holding guns accountable and not the idiot who used them

    August 9, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  19. Robert

    eeek, ban scary guns because I'm too ignorant to educate myself on them. All "semi-automatic" guns should be banned (even though this includes revolvers, you know, those 6-shooters you see in Westerns, certain hunting rifles, certain shotguns, and yes, hand guns).

    Bend over backwards to throw away your liberties & freedoms because you don't trust 99.9% of your fellow citizens. Talk about paranoid!! At least I trust that the vast, vast majority of gun-owners are honest, law-abiding citizens who wouldn't look to hurt you with their scary guns.

    Keep giving away your freedoms to the Government... yep, that ALWAYS works out well in the end (rolls eyes)

    August 9, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  20. Paul

    I am still confused as to why someone has not walked into a NRA convention and shot up the place. Wonder if their stance would change if that happened?

    August 9, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  21. truth4all

    get off gun control guns dont' kill people and all of you complaining about "high capacity magazines" high capacity as compared to what ? single shot ? get over yourself the gun isnt' to blame its the idiot that uses it wrong and on another not you can all THANK the high capacity magazine in the Co. shooting for not killing more since it JAMMED ! and the 100 round mas have a high rate of malfunction that result in jamming...but oh yes thats the problem and what no one seems to be asking here about Co...he went out a rear exit ...in every theater I have seen those are FIRE EXITS with alarms on the door otherwise what woudl keep you from paying for 1 ticket bumping it open and letting 10 of your buddies in ? no alarm wen off as he went out the door...why is that ? but yes do belittle the deaths of those in the Co shooting by holding guns accountable and not the idiot who used them

    August 9, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    "But semi-automatic gun does not mean a "machine gun" or a weapon that fires at a high rate with one press of the trigger. All the term semi-automatic means is one press of the trigger and one bullet fires, and the next one loads in automatically before it can be fired again with another press of the trigger. "

    No, semi-automatic means "as fast as you can keep pulling the trigger." I can pull a trigger pretty rapidly.

    August 9, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  23. Country Concerned

    The basic issue is freedom. Using isolated incidents compared to the whole, Aurora, Columbine, and other mass killings are insignificant compared to the whole. If anyone were to actually read the Constitution and the Second Amendment, they would discover that someone a long time ago knew that eventually the government would take away our basic freedoms. The Amendment gives the right to Americans to form a militia and remove the government. The Amendment has nothing to do with government or the military. It is the citizens of the United State right to demand freedom, forcefully if necessary.

    August 9, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  24. Trey

    Ok, for anyone that thinks we need to get rid of guns, give it a rest. Guns dont kill people, its people that use guns to kill others. BUT, they use knives, and bats, and hammers, and just about anything you can think of as well.... Cant ban everything. But what gets me is to think that a law that doesnt allow ownership of guns, is going to fix the problem. Just like a law against cocaine fixes the drug problem. It doesnt...

    But here is a more important question that I would like to ask, that no one seems to ever think about. If guns are banned, what are we going to do about animal population in the world???? Cant kill Dove with a bow.... Which means an over populated bird problem. Bow hunting cuts back a little on deer, but its more difficult which means an over populated deer problem. Same with just about every animal that is hunted... Guns arent all bad. A lot of time, they are needed to keep this country functioning normally.

    But hey, you Dems seem to have it all figured out. Just like social security and oh yea, taxing the rich... LOL!!!!!!!!!

    August 9, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  25. TSB8C

    To 'JohnRJohnson': You need to loop up the definition of an assault weapon, 'cause you missed it.

    August 9, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
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