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. AlbertCan

    How many card carrying members of the NRA has went on killing sprees or murdered anyone I wonder. Love to see the statistics. Would imagine not very many seeing as how I never have heard any.

    January 14, 2013 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  2. rs

    "Gun Grabbers" Who is talking about "grabbing" guns? So far only the crackpots of the NRA. Anyone paying attention should note that no one in Congress, no Governors, certainly not the President have talked about anything but sensible things like ending gun show sales (sans background checks), or limiting access to technology or large capacity magazines.
    Proof the NRA is a fear group loaded with paranoids (who probably shouldn't have guns!)

    January 14, 2013 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  3. AlbertCan

    Only gun control that works!
    "Use two hands"

    January 14, 2013 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  4. Know Your Subject

    "Nathan: An AR-15 destroys whatever it's pointed at when you pull the trigger."

    Silliness abounds. For a decade, the US Army's full-auto and burst-fire M16 rifles and M4 carbines have not been able to "destroy" rag-tag tribesmen in Afghanistan. Maybe the Army just needs to trade in its real military weapons for civilian AR15s.

    January 14, 2013 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  5. AlbertCan

    It not the 1800 hundreds anymore, you people need to join civilization. Turn over our guns, Bullets First

    January 14, 2013 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  6. Old White Consevative Male

    Militia: A military force of CIVILIANS to supplement a regular army in an emergency.

    The reason this country has never been invaded is because America has the ability to form a militia in every neighborhood, town, city, county, and state. Other than coward terrorist acts no other country would even think of invading the United States.

    January 14, 2013 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  7. don in albuquerque

    Sean Woods- if you want to talk about low information voters, you must be the grand poopah. Where do you get all your info, Fox News, NRA Rag Time? In addition to gun control what needs controlling are lobbyist groups like the NRA who think they can buy the government. We have been rationally informed for decades. See all the dead children, adults and college students, and soldiers, graves hold alot of answers. Your rights end where the other fellas nose begins.

    January 14, 2013 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  8. Bobbydifdaf

    So, that second to last paragraph is basically saying that the uneducated think that armed guards in every school is a good idea....but educated people know better.

    January 14, 2013 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  9. Wake up People!

    How did I miss the Schoolhouse Rock topic???? I LOVE Schoolhouse Rock! I grew up on it. It's funny, I still catch myself singing "I'm just a bill" or "Conjunction, junction, what's your function?" They really do need to bring these back. Especially I'm just a bill, it should be shown to Congress daily since they seem to have forgotten their function.

    January 14, 2013 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  10. burkhm

    OK, so we pass a law to prevent mentally ill people from purchasing guns. Now, do we pass a law that says any household where a mentally ill person resides cannot possess firearms? I'm just trying to understand because there are millions of mentally ill people living today and I'll wager many of them have access to guns in their homes and are not the owners of them.

    January 14, 2013 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  11. Jim Hahn

    At least the idiots are united in thinking that more guns will lessen gun violence.

    January 14, 2013 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  12. RC

    "85% of the public backs making private gun sales and purchases at gun shows subject to background checks". So does that include if my dad or uncle want to sell me one of their guns? See you have to make distinction because if you don't then these laws will never work since nobody I know is going to get any background checks just to sell our guns to people we know, or for that matter people we don't if they come to the house and want one. Just curious on if anyone thought of this or are we all just screaming gun regulation? Or sensible gun usage, I will go along with that. You can sensibly use a AR-15 just as well as a Remington 700 bolt action rifle.

    January 14, 2013 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  13. Mac

    I agree, if you go to a gun show the same laws apply. Banning semi- automatic weapons is not the answer next hand guns ban like 9 mills, 45's etc.

    January 14, 2013 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  14. Larry L


    2,000 guns each day are smuggled out of Arizona each day and into Mexico...and who in Mexico needs that many guns?.....

    ask obama, he was the one giving them away.
    A stupid program – started under the Bush Administration and foolishly continued. Do your homework.

    January 14, 2013 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  15. TR

    To RS, Im not ready for a liberal BS president to take away my rights. You can be one of the little following sheep that will eventually ask us true Americans to protect you. this is just another move to devide this once great country, well I for one is going to be on the side that has his own weapon. Hope you enjoy your future stay in one of his camps.

    January 14, 2013 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  16. joshdelzell

    @rs – The author of the proposed legislation has admitted that if she could she would make all Americans turn in their guns. The current bill forces you to register your guns and possibly turn them in on the spot if the government deems it necessary. (No trial no jury) So no the notion that they are "grabbing" our guns is very legitimate.

    January 14, 2013 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  17. achepotle

    I like the National Registration Association....thanks for providing the government with a list of mostl gun kooks in the country! It will come in very handy.

    January 14, 2013 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  18. Larry L


    ...There are a lot of what if's here, and if people go and give up their rights in the name of "safety", they generally are very difficult to impossible to get back. Be careful what you wish for....

    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Ben
    I would apply this saying more to the Patriot Act than to laws regulating the distribution of firearms.

    Don't people have the "right" to assume they can send their children to school without putting them at risk from avoidable gun violence? Aren't the really paranoid gun nuts trying to get "safety" when they arm themselves-to-the-teeth?

    January 14, 2013 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  19. Mike

    The Taliban seems to be doing just fine fighting an army with rifles and small explosives. To everyone saying you cant defend this country with the current weapons many gun owners have you are mistaken. I dont plan on turning in any of my guns and id love to see someone try to come take them

    January 14, 2013 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  20. revolting peasant

    I'm not convinced that banning high volume magazines would make that much of a difference. Any psycho worth his salt comes to the party with multiple weapons. They also seem to use hand guns rather than assault rifles. The real question is how do you keep nut jobs from owning guns.

    January 14, 2013 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  21. bob

    Maybe we should include gun running by Holder on the table also.

    January 14, 2013 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  22. Arney

    I think better background checks and security is already at all of our schools in our county and we have no problem with it. The kids get a respect for the officers and learn they are people too. But the real problem starts at home. Every parent including myself has to do their job to teach right from wrong and consequences when they make a bad decision or break a law. Come on America let's get with it. Stop listening to a bunch of perfect idealists that don't even live in the real world and take a hold of this countries future. It starts at home! With parents and morals! Without those tools every child is a potential failure to themselves and society. So quit pointing fingers and get with the job you have created for yourself. Raise your children correctly! The rest will take care of itself. Everyone will not chose the correct path through life and we have the justice system for that. So do your best and quit pointing the finger unless you are going to point it at yourself when it's due!

    January 14, 2013 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  23. Guest

    I think New Yorker and California and Illinois should give up their guns for 5 yrs just to test what happens. It seems most of their folks want to do that anyway. And if nobody dies from a gunshot wound and home invasion drops, we'll have a real lab testing of the laws,.

    January 14, 2013 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  24. upclosepls

    Liberals Exposed: The Obama administration and his liberal media followers, are trying to con naive American’s by demonizing semi-auto rifles. How? By calling them “assault weapons” which is a lie (look up the definition). They also keep saying “assault weapons are not needed for hunting”. The real truth: the second amendment was not designed by our founding fathers for hunting (and liberals know this). This is nothing more than a con job to confuse naive American’s into following their ideological beliefs. It’s really about power and control from both liberals and the Obama administration. History shows that if you strip the guns from the people you control the people. Hopefully the liberals and government will not continue to test the power of the second amendment and push this into an ugly repeat of the past. AMERICANS! PLEASE STOP BEING CONNED!

    January 14, 2013 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  25. Chass Brown

    Who did you poll only antigun nuts?? We know CNN is antigun but shesh poll some real people.

    January 14, 2013 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
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