Poll: Gun control that Americans support
January 14th, 2013
03:39 PM ET
5 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. DC1973

    citizen1974 – I sincerely hope that you're lying and you're not in a position to actually influence children's impression and opinions, not in the least because you can't spell "tragedies" right. I sure as heck wouldn't want you around my children, concealed gun in your classroom or not.

    January 15, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  2. tonyl

    We know that every automobile is registered and requires insurance because it can be used kill or hurt innocent people. Well we need the same for all guns. Every gun should be registered with SR# and requires to buy insurance from the gun owner. All private sales require dept of guns sales to apply for a gun ownership title and transfer the ownership with a registration under the new name.

    January 15, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  3. MykeTheVet

    Anyone supporting any legislation infringing upon the 2nd amendment is a traitor. RPG's, full-auto's, and any explosive/magnetic bomb is not part of the 2nd amendment. Those are the true "assault weapons," not semi-auto rifles and pistols. The 2nd amendment is in the Bill of Rights because Our forefathers knew something: there will always be tyranny. Looking at history, they are 100% correct.

    CNN lobbies for O'bama/Democrats and Fox lobbies for most Republicans minus the Paul family. The problem is not the 2nd amendment, the problem is where you get your information.

    Lima-1, still upholding his Oath, out.

    January 15, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  4. Todd Linville

    So your telling me that police are always going to be around to protect me. Protect me when someone has a gun that they got off the black market? If you think controling gun or banning guns is goin to stop the shootings.. then your ignorant and need to get out more. But ok ya'll are right; guns do kill people and my pencil is the reason i got answers wrong on tests.

    January 15, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  5. CS

    I find it appalling that some in our society seems to think that the writers of our Bill of Rights and Constitution wrote it for the age they lived in. We govern everyday by the laws on those documents and no one is questioning the foresight they had in those decisions. I don’t understand why this is a gun issue at all. We need to work on stability in our society. Making laws will not effect what happens with guns, they never have. Why should we give up a Right in order to change nothing? Where is the sense in that? This is about a criminal, not a law-abiding citizen. His mother did nothing wrong (remember she died too). The real issue here is how do we intercept this kind of behavior. To stop the massacres we have to stop the person intent on committing the act. They will use whatever means necessary to their own ends. What was it that glorified these images in this boy’s head to commit such an act? Read the stories he was docile and very submissive. We need to be talking about how to spot this kind of mind set, not spending all of our time and resources going after guns. This type of thinking is redundant in our history and solves nothing.

    January 15, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  6. ghostriter

    Anonymus, blaming movies when your hero Clint Eastwood made his money shooting up the wild west? Kinda hypocritical.

    What we need are laws that makes it harder to do this type of things, not easier. Laws that making crimes involving guns less palatable. And if laws are not a deterrent, then why do folks suddenly slow down when they see a speed trap?

    January 15, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  7. The Real Tom Paine


    @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.
    Bull. Our democracy was supposed to be a society where virtue, service and sacrifice were supposed to be part of the responsibilities of being a citizen. When faced with an armed revolt, George Washington led troops into the backwoods of Pennsylvania to quash it. What was it about? Paying an excise tax on whiskey so our government could pay its debts to the foreign governments that financed our rebellion. What you scream is unilateral control is meeting your obligations as a citizen as the Founders envisioned it.

    January 15, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  8. RES

    It does NOT say you cannot have guns. No law abiding citizen will be refused guns for hunting and personal protection. It already is against the law for felons to possess firearms and mentally unstable. Why not have background checks? we do for everything else.

    January 15, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  9. ghostriter

    CS, one person's right doesn't outweigh another's. Your right to own a gun doesn't trump my right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And if we as a society can't handle the burden of unregulated gun ownership, then it must be regulated.

    You guys talk about liberals living in a dream world where everything is peaceful. Conservative live in a dream world where we can just teach values and put God back in schools and everything will be fine. That is not the world we live in either.

    January 15, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  10. Will

    That's funny, I didn't get a chance to vote on this poll.

    January 15, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  11. bill

    It's called gun control, not a ban on guns. Get it straight. This has nothing to do with the 2nd Amendment but everything to do with our children being killed by "legally purchased" assault rifles. 20 kids and 6 adults were killed in less than half a minute with an assault rifle. More guns are not the answer. If anyone wants to walk around with their assault rifle then they can get the hell out of the USA and move to some worn torn country. Just look at how well all those favorable gun laws are working out for Syria.

    January 15, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  12. Logic N LA

    Impossible to know where to start with the nonsense posted here. The 2nd ammendment allowed for citizens to carry guns and form militias because we did not have a national army- not so that wackos could play army.
    Cars are registered for the protection of the owner in case they are stolen or involved in a crime- not because they can kill. Equating a transportation devise and a gun is ridiculous.
    Guns have one purpose- to kill. It's why they were invented, it's why they are used. Stronger laws protecting us form nut cases and and form rage-violence is not infringing on anyone's rights to own one.
    As for what type of guns maybe banned- thinnk about why you want a gun in the first place and what its used for. These are not toys. You may hunt, shoot for port and protect yourself- any gun that can do that is all an average citizent needs. That means no auotmatic/multi- bullet extended clip assault weapon is warranted.

    January 15, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  13. Rudy NYC

    mm wrote on page 9:

    NY Gov. Cuomo wants to be President. All this is is windowdressing for 2016. His trying to look good for the left wing base. He won't even make it past the primary. These laws don't solve anything. The problem is cultural. Additionally, I see the media attempting to link Republicans with guns. This is a lie as some of the bluest states in the Union are also among the highest in terms of gun ownership. ....
    All of the above is just simple right wing spin; mostly deception, lots of cherry picking of the facts. Allow me......

    1- So what, Cuomo might want to be POTUS. It's a problem only if you're a conservative.
    2- It's a problem because Cuomo would likely be a strong candidate. I think Hillary will be retired by then.
    3- Of course the problem is cultural. The gun lobby has been overrun by a culure of survivalists.
    4- Republicans link themselves to guns. Not one spoke out until the NRA gave them a platform.
    5. Of course many blue states would have the most guns....they have the most people!

    January 15, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  14. David

    The liberal media, like CNN, keep perpetuating the falsehood that background checks are not done on sales of firearms at gun shows. That is a lie. Most vendors at the shows are local gun dealers, who pay the show to set up tables or booths to sell their firearms, ammunition, and holsters, etc. When buying a firearm, they WILL have you fill out the ATF form 4473 and call the FBI to do a check on you (the later can be waived if you have a Concealed Carry permit issued by the state). Bloomberg, Giffords and her husband Kelly, and BO are presenting untruths about this. But, the low information public believes it.

    January 15, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  15. J R

    Lets redefine how we register firearms and their components.
    To possess a magazine over 15 rounds require a class "C" license (same license required to own a fully automatic weapon).
    Magazines over "X" rounds (5 rounds, 7 rounds, whatever) should be serialized and each individual mag registered. Require all unlicensed mags to be surrendered or face a substantial fine and the loss of the right to own a firearm.
    Finally, proof of an individuals knowledge of gun safety, marksmanship, safe storage and transportation should be required for permitting. i.e. treat firearms permitting the same as getting a drivers license. A written test and a demonstration of safe handling on a range to earn your permit.
    Then we can address our acceptance of gun violence. It seem that we only respond to a violent anomaly the occurs in a relatively influential neighborhood. Our leaders (all of them) sidestep the need to improve economic conditions as well as fighting the fact that violent behavior has become an expected expression of emotional anger, a right of passage or even a means of gaining notoriety. ...The gun is only the tip of the ice burg.

    January 15, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  16. bla

    This is what we do need. Not bans, but better control over who's actually sold a gun in the first place. If you couldn't buy a gun from a store it makes no sense why you could buy it at a show. It's an absolutely ridiculous loophole.

    Bans don't do anything significant to curb violence. It just gives politicians something to pat themselves on the back for because they pretended to do something. Gun control in the form of actually enforcing our existing laws actually requires continued effort so no one wants to bother doing it. They want a shortcut to score political brownie points.

    January 15, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  17. Kenny

    When will this country learn that banning anything does not work. It did not work for alcohol. That just ended up fueling orginized crime. It did not work for drugs. Yep more crime, and the most expensive war this country has ever tried to fight. It will not work here either. It's very simple. If people want something then they will have it. It doesn't matter what laws you pass. It doesn't matter what polls you take. Supply and demand will always work around what ever government and people try to put in front of it. Get ready America. Trying to inforce this is going to get expensive.

    January 15, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  18. Nick

    In a recent article, Stanislav Mishin (Russian Pravda) writes that after the Bolsheviks seized Moscow in 1917, they promised to leave alone the well-armed citizens if they did not interfere. “They did not and for that were asked afterwards,” writes Mishin, “to come register themselves and their weapons, whereupon they were promptly shot.”

    The Second Amendment was written to protect citizens from tyrannical government and to preserve our liberties by giving us the means by which to defend those liberties. Politicians who ignore the Constitution are the ones who need to be controlled, not law-abiding gun owners.

    January 15, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  19. Tom TTE

    ... support these gun restrictions ... as evidenced by the millions of guns that just left the shelves, left empty shelves, out of stock supplies and ammo, and backorders. Yeah, right, sure we're supportive. The fact of the matter is, government is out of control, is not representative by any means, and all we hear from the media is press statements and quotes from the radical special interests and their puppets, when we used to have journalists and news, and a dialogue.

    January 15, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  20. dreamer96

    Some in the big cities may call for banning guns...but how can they tell the public they can not own a gun for protection, when the majors and CEO's have boyguards armed with guns.....There are many issuses with a full ban on guns that would make it difficult to actually put in place....and many justifiable reasons to own a gun...The intercity store owner that wants a gun to defend against a robber, the home in the country that is a 20 to 30 minute drive for the local Sheriff to respond to a 911 call.....How do we allow the law ownership of a gun and the easy access to guns by the bad guys and the mentally ill or people that have real anger management issues....

    January 15, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  21. Canuck

    " 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."

    Wow – why are you some of you Americans so paranoid – you come across as a bunch of crazies? Thank God I live in Canada.

    January 15, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  22. Common Sense isn't Common

    This is just a question; neither from the left or the right, just a question fired right down the middle. How many of the mass shootigns that spur these debates were committed by people with criminal records? Columbine, Newtown, Va Tech, Ft Hood, Arizona, etc., etc. I won't pretend to know the answer because I haven;t done the research but I'll bet the answer is either few or none. While taking guns from criminals sounds like an idea everyone should support the reality is that doesn't stop these mass killings, only making guns less readily accessible to every loon who wants one will make a difference.

    January 15, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  23. The Jackdaw

    Every time Americans are afraid and insecure, the first thing they sacrifice is their liberties. Good luck America. New York State just demonstrated how willing you all are to kill your liberties and convert to Communism.

    January 15, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  24. The Jackdaw

    Every time Americans are afraid and insecure, the first thing they sacrifice is their liberties. Good luck America.

    January 15, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  25. dasea

    I wish I could speak to the nerve of the modern day musketeer who still sees the monarchy of a European nation as a threat.

    The 2nd amendment does not represent most Americans in this era. The language used should be indicative enough.

    Was not the goal of the American revolution to establish representation in government to enable us to make laws which protects the masses from those who were using the law to subject us to their wishes?

    I am not a constitutionalist I'll tell you that. I am an American. You can't put my heart in ink.

    January 15, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
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