Poll: Gun control that Americans support
January 14th, 2013
03:39 PM ET
1 year 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. Bob

    I just went out and purchased my first two handguns (Glock 17 gen 4 9mm) and also purchased an AR-15 assault rifle. I swore I would never own guns (especially with four little kids in the house) but times have gotten rough, and America is headed downhill, so this pushed me to purchase. I also got my concealed carry permit.

    Now if I can just find ammo....all online stores seem to be completely backordered. Arrrgghhh.

    January 14, 2013 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  2. Jaycee

    Fewer than half of college graduates support a proposal to put armed guards or police iin more schools. The amount of "education" doesn't mean their opinion is necessarily the solution to the problem. Just good old everyday common sense tells me an armed officer, on site, can react much quicker to a shooting incident than waiting for police units to arrive. The officer on site also already knows the situation and can react quicker.

    January 14, 2013 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  3. Dave in Canada

    The US is gradually turning into an armed camp similar to Afghanistan. And, this is the greatest country in the world?

    January 14, 2013 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  4. i'malib

    I say raise taxes on everyone who has a gun. You should also raise taxes on anyone who has a job for that matter. I need more free things; I would get a job, but Nancy Pelosi says I am stimulating the economy by collecting welfare. I'm just doing my part! With that said, I have a call coming in on my free phone. The rest of you, get back to work.

    January 14, 2013 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  5. martiniano

    It don't matter one whit if it was NRA card carriers or not who killed those folks. Somehow that there killer go holt of the gun. Maybe it was mama's gun or papa's or maybe your girlfriend done bought it for you. The ony way to kep 'em safe is if you lock 'em up in a cupboard with them dadgum trigger locks on em too. Hell, ain't no one gon' do that to their guns cause then how you gonna use that gun for self defence. FACT!

    January 14, 2013 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  6. Edwin

    Albert Can: so what? The problem is not NRA members shooting people, but rather the NRA blocking attempts to make it hard to prevent shootings.

    January 14, 2013 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  7. snowdogg

    "laws to prevent mentally ill people from purchasing guns"

    Should read "laws to prevent mentally ill people from owning guns"

    January 14, 2013 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  8. Tychi

    The Americans that want common sense gun control that allow registered, trained people to buy guns for home defense. I am talking about using hand-guns and shotguns or hunting rifles, not assualt guns. The normal American can not overcome the money that the NRA uses to create fear and fund our politicians. Agreeing with rs.

    January 14, 2013 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  9. Jack Kieser

    I love how the less educated you are, the more you want guns in schools. Just goes to show that the uneducated do, indeed, cling to their guns. Something tells me there's also a pretty significant religious correlation, too. So, one could say that the President's original "clinging to guns and religion" comment from a few years back is apropos here.

    January 14, 2013 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  10. Raven

    I guess you've never heard of Brady or Feinstein.... I think They would confiscate every gun in America if they thought it wouldn't cause Civil War II.

    Doctors kill more people than guns by a factor of 100:1 So do cars. So do drugs,
    It has been proven over and over that making guns illegal has NO effect on criminal behavior.

    January 14, 2013 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  11. marty

    Guns exude a certain sense of power and it's that power which seems to fuel the gun crazed element in our society. Power can make individuals do strange things, we see that in Congress almost every day.

    January 14, 2013 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  12. Sy2502

    Democracy can only survive if the people appreciate their freedom. More and more Americans couldn't care less. The 1st Amendment is under siege from Political Correctness. The 4th Amendment went out of the window with the Patriot Act. The 5th Amendment was weakened by the Eminent Domain Supreme Court decision. The 6th and 7th Amendment can be done away with, with the excuse of terrorism. The 10th Amendment is just a joke by now. And now the 2nd Amendment will also be dragged into the mud.
    It isn't surprising that the government should try to take our freedoms away. It is surprising that so many Americans are so happy about it.

    January 14, 2013 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  13. Jim

    @rs – Obviously you don't live in the Northeast. Gov. Cuomo said that "Confiscation is not out of the question". Politicians in CT are also talking about taking guns too. It's in the news because it's in vogue to be super anti gun. Most everybody is talking anti gun versus, what do we do about the insane people who perpetrate these crimes.

    January 14, 2013 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  14. Ratified1791

    "...Americans want..."? Hilarious pure propaganda that is a flat out lie.

    HISTORIC RECORD SALES prove this clown organization, Pew & CNN, are nothing but ...socialist democrat tools... with no credibility whatsoever.

    January 14, 2013 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  15. Canuck

    @Collin
    "People need to take responsibility for themselves and this society needs to remove barriers to getting treatment for mental health issues."

    Totally agree ... however.... America has demonstrated to the world how much it values health-care.

    January 14, 2013 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  16. Canuck

    If Obama was serious about reducing gun violence in the US he would end the insane drug war.

    January 14, 2013 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  17. Ratified1791

    @rs WHAT? Certified Delusional Democrat Response produced by the usual MoveOn, Media Matters, Saul Alinsky school of lies & deceit.

    .....Dozens and dozens of "democrats have specifically and severally" stated they want exactly that and like a another lemming Stepford Obama Wife you continue to drink the kool-aid while everyone laughs at "you"!.....

    January 14, 2013 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  18. CBP

    The problem we all face is how to enact some gun laws which the NRA members will support. Most of the time we hear how we are trying to take their guns away. We are trampling on their rights. How about our right to pursue the right to peace, life and happiness. Do the NRA members have more rights than those of us who do not belong? Are we allowed to have rights, too? There should be a way for both sides to exist and for people to feel safe and the time has come for both sides to come together and make some moves that will help both sides to live peacefully., Once again, I state that most of us do not want to take their guns away or to eliminate the second amendment so let us get that off the table now.

    January 14, 2013 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  19. Jaeger

    "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."

    Odd. Mr. Obama, Mr. Biden and Mr. Gregory support armed guards at the school their family members attend. Sidwell has had an armed security force for years, even before there was a Secret Service presence there for the Obama kids...

    January 14, 2013 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  20. Ken

    This is an emotional, and political, reaction. I've seen comments that range from banning all guns from private ownership (extreme left) to no exclusions whatsoever (extreme right). Then there are varying degrees on gun registrations and background checks. I'm all for a balanced approach but I cannot honestly say what that would be. I am, however, going to side with the Second Amendment espeically the part about the right of the people. "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." If any government can infringe on the rights of people, then what's left?

    January 14, 2013 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  21. Dateless Nerd

    Good Lord! Who are the 20% of the American public who don't favor laws preventing mentally ill people from having guns? Do any of them live near me? Yikes!

    January 14, 2013 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  22. Justhefacts

    If the NRA really supports putting armed guards in schools, they should be willing to support a tax on weapons and ammunition sales to pay for these armed guards.

    January 14, 2013 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  23. It's a Conundrum!!

    Wow. A survey of 1,502 people. Impressive. That represents a whopping .000005% of Americans. Geez.

    January 14, 2013 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  24. Robert

    Gun control in my household as a 12 year old was conducted this way; you may not touch one unless you can recite the 10 commandments of gun safety. Guns may not be used without parental supervision. Guns are not toys. I can assure you of this; I would never be able to own or play Grand theft auto. If any of you Parents allow your children to play these games and you are on here calling for stricter gun control.., you are the problem.

    January 14, 2013 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  25. john

    Now all of the sudden CNN is interested in polls, as they always are if the poll supports their agenda. They sure were not interested in polls on immigration, which showed a majority of Americans opposed amnesty. Trust me , CNN and their master, the White House, have no concern about what you or I think. It's all about the Liberal agenda, and right now they have their sights set on guns, no pun intended.

    January 14, 2013 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
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