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. asche

    The Second Amendment didn't say "unless polls say otherwise". Neither did any of the other thingys mentioned in the Bill of Rights. A right is something that no individual can upon others infringe, neither can the many deprive one individual of it.

    January 15, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  2. KevPHX

    "AlbertCan

    When are we going to stop all these crazy NRA members from going around capping people, look at all the killing in Nashville. We need gun laws like in Chicago, Washington dc,Detroit,don't you people see the destruction these NRA nuts are doing to our community? Whoa I feel better about my self."

    Is this person serious? Really?! All the NRA People going around "capping people," more gun laws like Chicago. How many NRA members killed someone today or yesterday or last month? Chicago has the highest murder rate in the country. What is scary is that this individual "feels better about themself."

    I have to say, this is the most amusing yet the most terrifying thing I have read so far that this individual is so out of touch with reality.

    Facts are facts, more people are killed by automobiles driven by drunk drivers, more people are killed by ALREADY illegal drugs, and while gun ownership is up while gun crimes are declining. If Chicago is a model for gun control, look at the 512 murders in 2012 and so far in 2013, Chicago is clipping along at more than one murder a day. I am sure in NY while politicians are applauding, law-abiding citizens are fuming and are now far less able to protect themselves, and the Criminals are sending thank-you cards to elected officials for making their job easier. CRIMINALS WILL NOT FOLLOW LAWS, if they did, they wouldn't be criminals.

    January 15, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  3. J Russ

    perhaps we should address this properly and amend the constitution rather than pass additiional regulations on top of current regulations that have been proven not to work?

    January 15, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  4. Jon

    The idea that there are people out there who think its a bad idea to do background checks at Gun Shows, or think its a bad idea to prevent a CRAZY person from having a gun is disturbing.

    That's "gun rights enthusiasts" going too far. Some of them are just completely unreasonable.

    January 15, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  5. Zee Carolina

    I am a North Carolina transplant living in upstate NY for last several years and today I am proud of NY showing the rest of the nation what common sense laws we can pass in a bipartisan way. Th rest of the country should take NY's lead and ban those assault weapons. NO citizen needs these killing machines and banning them does not violate the 2nd Amendment. It's not the criminals using those weapons to kill innocent people, they were all purchased legally. I would go to the point of calling back all those semis that were sold.

    January 15, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  6. Bolaji09

    "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."

    Hmmmm....

    January 15, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  7. iliab

    Do we really need this second amendment? None of civilized countries have it and they are doing much better than us in terms of crime and violence.

    January 15, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  8. Michael

    What a surprise. The more educated a person is, the more they favor gun control over putting more guns into everyone's hands and arming everyone. It's a good thing the old west didn't let the hired guns control the legislatures.

    January 15, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  9. Martoon

    The only common sense gun control is instant background checks and updated databases for the mentally ill/disturbed. However, your legislators have not properly funded the National Instant Check System and that is why the Virginia Tech shooter was able to buy guns although mentally ill. So, besides the shooters, the biggest contributor to these mass shootings is (surprise) the same government that is trying to take away guns. Make no mistake - these people are not stupid enough to believe that criminals will follow new gun laws. They are using this as a way to disarm America.

    January 15, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  10. Dennis

    Funny. I took a poll yesterday online that showed 85% against any ban on "assault" weapons or high capacity magazines. Where are these pollsters getting their people from?

    January 15, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  11. NRyAhoo

    My right to be a paranoid gun totin' conspiracy nut armed to the teeth shall not be infringed. 1776 will commence again!! The republic will rise! Yeeeehaaw!!!

    January 15, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  12. Two Row

    Waiting with baited breath for the Imperial President to give us his ultimatum.

    January 15, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  13. Fair is Fair

    iliab

    Do we really need this second amendment? None of civilized countries have it and they are doing much better than us in terms of crime and violence.
    --------
    Typically what you hear fromt the left is that they would prefer to err on the side of EXPANDING rights instead of taking rights away... unless it's 2nd Ammendment related, of course. Why is that?

    P.S. You're more than welcome to pack up and live in any other "civilized nation" hell hole should you so choose...

    January 15, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  14. reality check

    All these authoritarians on this blog trying to impose upon folks what type of firearm we "need" or don't need. Heart disease is the #1 killer in the U.S. and I don't go around telling you that you don't need another taco-burger.

    January 15, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  15. H-K

    SIMPLE...and this is really SIMPLE...you CANNOT just get rid of the 2nd Amendment because you don't like it. It's been there all along. Why don't we just get rid of the whole damn thing, because you don't like it? Better yet...you take my gun...I take your voice.

    January 15, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  16. Zee Carolina

    The "public" in the "Republic" has risen and we say no more weapons of mass killings!

    January 15, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  17. California Gary

    I enjoyed firing the M-60 machine gun while serving in the Marines years ago. I'd like to have one. Any problem with that? What? They are not available to the public? Why not? What about my second amendment rights? I'm sure the NRA will back me up......what, they don't think I need one either? The amendment doesn't apply to machine guns? Then why, if I may ask, does the NRA think the amendment applies to semi-automatic assault type weapons? The reasoning here escapes me. Both are designed to kill as many people as possible in a short period of time. Both are great for combat......but neither belongs in the hands of the average person in the street.

    January 15, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  18. skarphace

    David: "The liberal media, like CNN, keep perpetuating the falsehood that background checks are not done on sales of firearms at gun shows."

    BS. Nobody said that no sales at gun shows require background checks. It is called the 'gun show loophole', which merely means that it is possible to make private sales at gun shows that do not require a background check. 40% of gun sales are through private sellers. 40% do not require a background check currently.

    This is the loophole that we need closed. All gun sales should require a background check and the guns should be registered to the current owner. This will happen, regardless of the wishes of the NRA gun lobby.

    January 15, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC

    asche

    The Second Amendment didn't say "unless polls say otherwise". Neither did any of the other thingys mentioned in the Bill of Rights. A right is something that no individual can upon others infringe, neither can the many deprive one individual of it.
    ----------------–
    Okay, let's argue it your way then. My pusuit of happiness and peace of mind far outweighs someone else's delusional paranoia and twisted mind.

    January 15, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  20. Dark tater

    Guns are for self-proclaimed victims.

    January 15, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  21. GuestAgain

    Gary – if you were in the Marines, please stop suggesting that we are talking about the same type of weapons, you only further the ignorance seen here regularly by those who believe if BO or Reid or Biden says it...it must be true.

    January 15, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  22. California Gary

    @guestagain.......served from 1969-1979........are you saying that semi-automatic rifles firing .223 ammunition weren't designed for and in use as military anti-personnel weapons? You mean we are sending our soldiers and Marines into combat armed with deer rifles? Please explain to me why the average person needs a weapon of that sort.....I don't see it.

    January 15, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  23. Zee Carolina

    Thank about it this way ... each one of the assault guns used in the massacres was originally sold legally! In some cases to mentally unstable, so we need to avoid that, and in some cases to normal people and then these guns found their way into the wrong hands e.g. the Sandy Hook shooter, the Firemen killer in Webster NY. Had there been a complete ban on assault weapons going back to many years then it would have been incrementally difficult for these 2 to get their assault weapons and maybe, just maybe, the incidents would not have been so tragic. We need to make it difficult, not easy for these people to get weapons that are designed to kill the most in the shortest possible time. Who says weapons don't? The kind of weapon used has a direct correlation to the lethality of the murders.

    January 15, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  24. rs

    You Don't Say?-
    Only the NRA wackos are talking about "disarming" people (they also like "gun-grabber"), no one here is. This is about Making gun owners more responsible, and reducing access to the worst offending firearms.

    January 15, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  25. rs

    H-K

    SIMPLE...and this is really SIMPLE...you CANNOT just get rid of the 2nd Amendment because you don't like it. It's been there all along. Why don't we just get rid of the whole damn thing, because you don't like it? Better yet...you take my gun...I take your voice.
    ____________________________
    Quite so- but continuing to be irresponsible about guns, gun sales and access and that day may come. Crazy talk about "taking your gun" just makes you sound like some faux-revolutionary hack from the NRA.

    January 15, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
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