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. Larry L

    @sonnie3

    The sound reasons for the 2nd Amendment and the Great Vision of our Fore Fathers is really starting to shine with the strong light of clarity. It liberal politicians that are afraid of the 2nd Amendment as they are the ones who would like to make slaves and subject out of we the people one slow but sure step at a time.
    Wake up America
    Don't alow the gun grabers an inch or they will end up taking a mile!!
    ================================================================================================
    Nobody has proposed "grabbing your guns". I quit a lifetime of membership with the N.R.A. when it became a gun lobby supported by mindless zealots who think the 2nd was created to validate domestic terrorists – like Tim McVeigh. He decided the government was too "oppressive" for him and took action. Was he a "patriot"?

    January 15, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  2. rs

    Ryan

    RS:

    With the right license and the right amount of money, you can own an RPG. I can tell you this, you will not ever hear on the news about a guy who killed people with an RPG who obtained it legally. It's usually for collection purposes.
    ______________________________________
    So, what? This means no gun control sane or otherwise? That's crazy- and that's the problem- the gun lobby looks crazy, and that is why it will lose. The NRA is not doing gun owners any favors at this point- nor are comments about collecting RPGs- for any reason.

    January 15, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  3. Chedar

    Just ban all guns period. There is no way why people have to carry guns. That's what police .nationsl guards, soldiers are for. Better yet overturn the 2nd ammendment and declare the NRA as an illegal organization

    January 15, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  4. rs

    pilot546

    Hey RS , You do realize that countries like China censor what movies , games and internet usage the people have?
    ____________________________
    So you'd be a Commie if they let you keep your guns? Surprise, they don't let their citizens own guns in China!

    January 15, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  5. Justanotherjoe

    Are Americans insane??? Why now? The ban on gun sale to the mentally insane should have been in place along time ago. Guns do kill. Without guns, mass killings wiould not occur. NRA is a bunch of neeanderthaals.

    January 15, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  6. LeonC

    @LarryL: The NRA Never backed or supported Timothy McVeigh. You sir are a shill who has never been an NRA member. If it werent for the NRAs legal challenges to tyranncal laws from so-called progressives, we would all be living a socialist nightmare. Firearm ownership, and especially military-grade firearms are all that keeps the government from imposing unilateral control on our lives.

    January 15, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  7. Larry L

    Ryan

    RS:

    With the right license and the right amount of money, you can own an RPG. I can tell you this, you will not ever hear on the news about a guy who killed people with an RPG who obtained it legally. It's usually for collection purposes.
    =============================================================================================
    So why then wouldn't you need a license to own weapons that are quite commonly used to kill people? Couldn't the license fees go to help pay for the background checks?

    January 15, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  8. rs

    G

    The problem with more laws is they are followed by the followers of them...Newtown shooter broke 16 federal laws...which one of the laws stopped him? NONE
    _________________________________
    The problem was the shooter's Mother who believed the NRA BS about fearing the government- and took her mentally ill son shooting every weekend. You think maybe she shouldn't have had guns, or maybe should have kept them someplace safe or under lock and key.

    January 15, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  9. rs

    New gun laws should require: licensing (with fees); taxes on weapons and ammo; limits on clip capacities; thorough backround checks for ALL sales; no auto/semi-auto weapons; reinstate the assault weapons ban; liability for the owners of guns for the damages their guns do.

    January 15, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  10. Ken in MD

    This poll just shows how out of touch the NRA is. Of course they couldn't care less about gun rights or the 2nd Amendment, only how it affects gun manufacturers and dealers. That's where the real money is.

    January 15, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  11. BYRD

    My question is why not use a single bolt rifle verses a semi-automatic???Why not a regular handgun rather than something that holds 30 rounds in a clip. You still have a gun and owning a regular gun still gives you the right to bear arms soooooo why do you need something more powerful...answer this question since you would still have a firearm. If not then you have just proven most of sane Americas point of view

    January 15, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  12. skarphace

    My prediction: gun registration and universal background checks will become federal law. I doubt an assault rifle ban will be put in place, mostly because there are over a million such weapons already in the hands of private citizens, but a ban on extended magazines and armor piercing bullets may happen. I don't expect much else to happen except maybe an extended federal database to include those with mental problems (this last to appease the gun lobby).

    January 15, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  13. Read a book

    Polls, and stories like this about polls, are completely detrimental and pander to the ill informed. First off, numbers can be make to show either side to any argument. Also, this makes it sound like we are a democracy. We are not. We are a Republic. By design. If you do not know the difference, then read a book.
    Democracy = bad.
    Republic = good.

    January 15, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  14. rs

    BYRD

    My question is why not use a single bolt rifle verses a semi-automatic???Why not a regular handgun rather than something that holds 30 rounds in a clip. You still have a gun and owning a regular gun still gives you the right to bear arms soooooo why do you need something more powerful...answer this question since you would still have a firearm. If not then you have just proven most of sane Americas point of view
    ______________________________
    I agree completely. Notice however the wackadoodle beliefs listed above about "taking on the government". We're not dealing with very rational people here.

    January 15, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  15. citizen1974

    I am a high school teacher and gun rights supporter. Trajedies and crimes like Sandy Hook are not preventable in a free society. They are not even preventable in highly controlled societies. Maniacs do not care about gun laws. I stand firmly with supporters of the 2nd ammendment. I also have a message for legislators and the public. GUN FREE ZONES are TARGETED KILL ZONES! Teachers and anyone working in a gun free zone should be exempt and allowed to conceal carry a firearm for thier protection. An armed citizen is a strong deterence to crime. Police don't stop crime, they respond to the aftermath. GUNS SAVE LIVES in the hands of free law abiding citizens.

    January 15, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  16. skarphace

    BYRD: "why do you need something more powerful...answer this question since you would still have a firearm."

    The gun lobby supporters argue that the 2nd Amendment gives them the right to protect themselves against the government. This is why they argue for assault rifles. I don't agree with them, as the 2nd Amendment mentions a well REGULATED militia, and they argue against regulation, but this is their argument.

    January 15, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  17. rs

    Read a book
    -Know thine enemy. The NRA caters only to gun manufacturers and gun sellers who simply do not care oabout anyone's safety- just profit.

    January 15, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  18. jaimie

    Gun control that America supports? Another article to sway public opinion.. With 300,000,000 "guns" in private hands in the USA any laws would only be a token measure. It would take 300 years to work. The bad guys will never turn in guns they have. Even if no more guns were sold in the USA it would take 300 years to work. I understand that people are emotional about Newtown and so am I but new gun laws would only be a token measure.

    January 15, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  19. cdub2k

    I wasn't apart of this poll and I don't know of anybody who voted in this poll.

    Nor do I care about the results of this poll because it doesnt represent what everybody feel. It only represents what the people who voted feel about this issue

    I can strategically ask more people who are against gun laws than those who support gun laws to vote in my poll and then I'll take the results of the poll and make my own article and entitle it "GUN CONTROL AMERICANS DON'T SUPPORT"

    January 15, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  20. Anonymous

    The problem with more laws is they are followed by the followers of them...Newtown shooter broke 16 federal laws...which one of the laws stopped him? NONE
    _________________________________
    The problem was the shooter's Mother who believed the NRA BS about fearing the government- and took her mentally ill son shooting every weekend. You think maybe she shouldn't have had guns, or maybe should have kept them someplace safe or under lock and key.
    -----------------
    So what we need is a law that will prevent people who are willing to do whatever it takes (including killing their own mother) from getting a gun. I don't think such a thing exists. Laws don't stop people from doing things. Enforcement is always post mortem. So just ban them all. Should work just about as well as making drugs illegal. Don't you think we should spend more time on personal responsibility? Or maybe less time glamorizing violence in the media (that includes movies, TV, and video games)?

    January 15, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  21. Thomas Cox

    People have lost sight of what the 2nd Amendment was created for. It wasn't to protect the rights of hunters. It was to protect the citizens of the United States against total gov't control. Which, if you've been paying ANY attention, is exactly what the Obama administration is trying to do. Big Gov't.

    January 15, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  22. Concerned

    citizen1974
    I am a high school teacher and gun rights supporter. Trajedies and crimes like Sandy Hook are not preventable in a free society. They are not even preventable in highly controlled societies. Maniacs do not care about gun laws. I stand firmly with supporters of the 2nd ammendment. I also have a message for legislators and the public. GUN FREE ZONES are TARGETED KILL ZONES! Teachers and anyone working in a gun free zone should be exempt and allowed to conceal carry a firearm for thier protection. An armed citizen is a strong deterence to crime. Police don't stop crime, they respond to the aftermath. GUNS SAVE LIVES in the hands of free law abiding citizens.
    ____________________________________
    Really? You're a high school teacher? With the amount of spelling and grammatical errors in your post alone how in the heck did you get a teaching certificate?

    January 15, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  23. ghostriter

    In his State of the State address, Cuomo noted that he is a gun owner himself and his proposal "is not taking away people's guns." In Baltimore Monday, the Maryland governor also said his goal was not "to ban all guns."

    January 15, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  24. The Mayor of Medinah

    Since when did 1502 peole represent America?

    January 15, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  25. You Don't Say?

    Personally, it starts to get really dicey when the government moves to disarm people. If they get an inch, then it will be a mile and no one will even be able to get a hand gun. And just because public opinion according to news agencies want more control, doesn't mean bypassing Congressional legislation to make it so. The legislative process should be used here, not executive order! The Constitution gives citizens the right to bear arms. Once the government starts disarming the populace, then the citizens of the country don't have any way to protect themselves against Tyranny ~ that being from the government.

    January 15, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
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