Poll: Gun control that Americans support
January 14th, 2013
03:39 PM ET
2 years ago

Poll: Gun control that Americans support

Washington (CNN) – One month after the deadly shootings at an elementary school in Connecticut, a new national poll indicates that a majority of Americans support a number of gun control proposals. But the survey points to wide partisan, gender, and educational divides over some proposals.

According to a Pew Research Center poll, 85% of the public backs making private gun sales and purchases at gun shows subject to background checks, with comparable support across party lines. And the poll indicates that 80% favor laws to prevent mentally ill people from purchasing guns, with broad support from Democrats, Republicans and independent voters.

The poll's Monday release comes one month after 27 people, including 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School, were killed in Newtown, Connecticut by a gunman, who then shot himself to death.

Two-thirds of people questioned in the survey say they support creating a federal database to track gun sales, but there's a partisan divide, with 84% of Democrats and only 49% of Republicans favoring the proposal.

Fifty-five percent favor a ban on assault style weapons, 54% back a ban on high capacity ammunition clips, and 53% support a ban on on-line ammunition sales, but again there's a wide partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans on these proposals.

According to the poll, nearly two-thirds support putting armed security guards or police in more schools, but only four in ten say arming more teachers and school officials with guns is a good idea.

By a 51%-45% margin, Americans say it's more important to control gun ownership than to protect gun rights. This is virtually unchanged from Pew poll that was conducted in the days following the Newtown, Connecticut shootings.

Men are divided on this question, while a solid majority of women say it's more important to control gun ownership. There's also a sizable gender gap over a ban on semi-automatic weapons, with two-thirds of women supporting such a move and men divided.

The survey also highlights an educational divide. Fewer than half of college graduates support a proposal to put armed guards or police in more schools, while three-quarters of those with no more than a high school education favor the idea.

The Pew Research Center poll was conducted January 9-13, with 1,502 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

– CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this story


Filed under: Gun rights • Polls
soundoff (331 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    This nation needs Gun-control law. Even this comment is regulated by NRA idiots not to put on....shame.

    January 14, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  2. CAWinMD

    Since Boehner said that Democrats have to support spending cuts coupled with raising the debt ceiling because a majority of Americans say so, I look forward to Republicans enthusiastically supporting all the gun control initiatives above because a majority of Americans say so. Otherwise, Republicans are just hypocrites, right?

    January 14, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  3. jim

    Drugs are illegal and they're still around. Gun control will do nothing to stop violence. Zero.

    January 14, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  4. v_mag

    If you can't be mentally ill and buy a gun, how are all those paranoid NRA members going to qualify? And where in the holy Second Amendment does it say the government can take guns away from the mentally ill, criminals, or even people in jail?

    January 14, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  5. Know Your Subject

    Responses to polls depend on the questions asked.

    "favor laws to prevent mentally ill people from purchasing guns"

    How many who favor this would be surprised that such laws already exist?

    "public backs making private gun sales and purchases AT GUN SHOWS subject to background checks"

    How many who favor this would be surprised that proposed legislation is not about GUN SHOWS, but ALL private transactions?

    January 14, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  6. dsangiovanni

    Something must be sick in this country if those iare the % of people in favor of doing something after 20 children were killed.

    January 14, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  7. Adam

    Gallup would disagree with these results.

    January 14, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  8. NotYoDaddy

    Your headline is incorrect.

    You forgot to put the word SOME before the word AMERICANS.

    January 14, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  9. ray

    we can have all the gun laws we need only if all the republicans in both houses of congress were sent to prison

    January 14, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  10. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    What needs to be done is for Congress to appropriate more money to cover ATF for enforcement of current laws along with new requirements for states to participate in the FBI/ATF databases so that background checks can be done more completely.

    I don't think that the 2nd amendment envisioned anything more than people being allowed to hold onto weapons to go hunting or personal defense. Unless you purposely tick of large groups of people, I don't think that anyone really needs assault rifles. These are weapons that should be left to the military and police.

    January 14, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  11. Annaindfw

    The time is now to introduce restrictions on military grade rifles and high capacity magazines. This has nothing to do with the 2nd amendment. Gun owners can still have a gun to protect their homes, but they do not need an AR-15 to go hunting.

    January 14, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  12. sifto

    canada had a gun resistry and had to scrap it–too expensive and govt unable to enforce.....they also found it to be totally useless.....

    January 14, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  13. sifto

    also, all of these liberal polls can be skewed to their point of view–CNN constantly tries to insult the intelligence of Americans to promote their view....

    January 14, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  14. Eric

    We're NOT BANNING semi-automatics because they LOOK like "assault weapons" semi-automatic means: One (1) round fired per/ trigger pull. NO WAY IN HELL are we BANNING these!

    January 14, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  15. Kweso

    We need to amend the second amendment. Simple.

    January 14, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  16. emelyew

    Forget about registering and licensing guns. License the gun owners. Forget about banning "assault rifles." Require a federal license to buy one and make sure the licensing requirements include a background check and psychological evaluation, similar to how we evaluate law enforcement officers. And yes, anything more than 10 or 15 rounds in a magazine is really unnecessary. Have the government buy high capacity magazines back and scrap them.

    January 14, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  17. Saganaki

    I shoot guns at the range. I support stricter gun control laws. Still, I can't help be concerned that a lot of people don't know what they're talking about regarding gun nomenclature. For instance, the vast majority of guns out there are semi-auto. Example 2: The civilian AR is no different from the more normal looking wood-and-blue-steel Ruger mini-14 ranch rifle. But functionally they're identical.

    Basically I support a restriction on 30 round magazines. I also support the idea that any prospective gun owner go through the same kind of psych eval given to cops or soldiers. I support closing the gun show loophole. I don't support new gun legislation based on scare-tactic buzzwords (from either extreme).

    January 14, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  18. bcrunner

    Hey Jim!! If these people who owned guns only killed themselves, like people who do drugs, maybe I would be fine with that... But, since they get their "drug" and go out and kill others, then I am not OK with that...

    January 14, 2013 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  19. codo

    Everyone that i know is ALL for making it more difficult for any person to acquire a of any sort firearm, with proper training , proper mental health/background checks, and mandatory safes (as for firearms to not be stolen or used by anyone that is not authorized). HOWEVER! restricting magazine (NOT CLIP) size would achieve nothing! only the law abiding, follow the laws. in Canada they have a similar law, however it is extremely simple to modify magazines to hold more then 10 (there fore only the law abiding are restricted.

    I am a gun owner and advocate, however i don't believe ANYONE should own a firearms without proper training!

    January 14, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  20. Abu Amiri

    "...the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." What part of that are you idiots not getting?

    January 14, 2013 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  21. Boo

    To all of the gun owners – unless you hunt, why do you need a gun?

    January 14, 2013 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  22. emelyew

    Forget licensing guns, license the owners. Forget about banning "assault rifles." License and register their owners, making background checks and a psychological evaluation part of the licensing requirements, similar to what we do for law enforcement officers. And yes, anything more than 10 or 15 round magazines is really unnecessary. The federal government should buy back all higher capacity magazines. They can give the ones that are workable to law enforcement and the military.

    Above all, register the violent criminals and the ones with real mental issues to make sure they can;t buy legal guns. Make their families liable for their actions with firearms and require that their firearms be locked up separately from their ammunition unless they are actually carrying the gun.

    None of these proposals will directly and negatively affect the 2nd Amendment. I'm a firearms owner and am very dedicated to the idea of self defense and other legitimate uses for firearms. None of the ideas I've pointed out would prevent me from doing what I like with my guns.

    January 14, 2013 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  23. zapper

    YES to comprehensive background checks and stiff sentences for felons who try to buy guns of any kind.

    January 14, 2013 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  24. Two Row

    Sounds like Obamanation is running towards an executive order so all this polling and conjecture maybe pointless. Or we can wait until the end of the day for slow Joe’s recommendations. No telling what will roll out of that bastion of intellectual firepower.

    January 14, 2013 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  25. Minuteman

    The only gun law I support is the 2nd Amendment

    January 14, 2013 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
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