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. ug

    Liberals are such little feminine freaks and these polls all lie anyway when cnn takes them...more people that are legal residence own guns than down't own them and I don't see them in the surveys...cnn s u c k s.

    January 14, 2013 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  2. dan

    did adam lanza get his guns at a gun show ? answer is no he stole them so none of these laws would have stopped it . however if someone had listened and done something when his mother told them he was dangerous 26 people would still be alive . the problem here isn't guns or gun owners or the nra ! maniacs will find a way to kill its just a shame none of the liberal law makers and media can see that . dont you think a bomb or bombs could have killed alot more people then what would your excuse be ?

    January 14, 2013 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  3. Pat

    Check out the responses from the educated vs. the uneducated. That alone speaks volumes.

    January 14, 2013 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    Any new gun control laws are for law abiding citizens. The government can pass as many laws as they like these shootings will continue. In the end all we lose is our rights. The Gun control advocates are worried about pushing through these laws as quickly as possible, there is not much thought in the process. Governor Coumo in NY is worried about magazine capacity without any clue to how difficult that would be enforce. For every one rifle there are probably five magazines. This will be another law that will lack enforcement and do absolutely nothing to curb mass shootings. We need laws that work and that don't infringe upon our liberties. We don't need to pass laws based on emotions this is extremely dangerous.
    Another problem is that semi-automatic rifles (so called assault weapons , based on physical characteristics) kill far less people each years than knives do. What will the impact on saving lives have by passing an assault weapons ban.

    January 14, 2013 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  5. Carl, Secaucus, NJ

    I'm not a big gun fan, but in terms of preventing massacres, honestly I don't think there's any practical point to banning rifles just because they have a military look and are semi-automatic. The reason I say that is because the Virginia Tech massacre, which was worse than Sandy Hook, was committed with a pistol–the same with Fort Hood. There may be political will to place some restrictions (probably not an outright ban) on such rifles, but I doubt Americans would support giving up their pistols, since that's seen as the consummate self-defense weapon (whereas very few civilians would carry a rifle for self defense).

    January 14, 2013 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  6. dg

    So has anyone bothered looking that violent crime is down almost 53% over the last 20 years according to the fbi database? You people that want to restrict our rights to own guns need to get a reality check. Hammers and knives kill more people then guns the same with cars. We need sensible laws not some crack pot crap laws that will do nothing. What's next take away freedom of speech?, how about our right to vote? You anti-gun people are just as bad as the gun zealots, you are no better.

    January 14, 2013 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  7. jdt

    rs, unless I miss understood senator Feinstein's bill and the way she described it, the grandfathering clause would have me register my "assault weapon" and then when I passed away, I would not be able to transfer to my children, it would have to be turned into the government. Like I said I may have miss understood it but if it's true, it's not a gun grab now but a gun grab later.

    January 14, 2013 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  8. Scott K

    RS (Crackpots from the NRA? )Really ? Try New York Governor Andrew Coumo and Mayor Bloomberg and the Iowa legislator Muhlbauer and a few others that have came right out and stated that they wanted to confiscate guns. Google IT you can even get a video of it. So there is no credence to what you have stated.

    January 14, 2013 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    Not so rs.....there is still that sticky little assault weapons ban that they are toying with...you know, the one that doesn't include any assault weapons, only scary looking semi-automatics.

    January 14, 2013 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  10. Bart

    Rifles are used to murder 323 people a year in the United States. Assault weapons are rifles, so some of those 323 were commited with assault weapons. How much money, time and effort are people spending trying to get something banned that is responsible for less than 323 murders? I can save 25X the lives by banning texting in cars.

    January 14, 2013 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  11. Paul Cooper

    I think we need to do more to control the freedom of speech. And religion. There's way too much religious freedom in this country. Speech and religious freedom are used everyday to frighten the weak-minded and the fearful. We need to stop this immediately. Ban all internet chat rooms. Ban all blogging. Ban all church groups and sermons that last more than 15 minutes. Only then will we be safe.

    January 14, 2013 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  12. JP

    Actually, lets see how many people are alive today because they had a assault rifle ;on em' Tom, then lets compare that to how many people are dead because someone had an assault rifle on em.....

    January 14, 2013 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  13. Bob Thomas

    To RS..re your last comment...it was unnecessary. And in reference to the large capacity magazenes...if you think back to the time the 2nd A was written... the purpose was not hunting or target shooting...but a society having the right to protect itself against a rouge government. It is also important to note that there was no effort made in the 2nd A to make the weapons of the citizens less capable than the weapons of the government. The outcome of the revolutionary war would have ben much different if the colonists had fought with spears, swords...etc. The whole idea...God forbid...is if a government goes crazy...the general population will have within their reach weaponry(sp?) more rather than less adequate for the unimaginable task. God help us that we will never see such a thing...but if the need arises...the population needs as much fire power as they can muster...
    My idea...if a gun is used to commit crimes there should be a swift death penalty. I know that is harsh...but we are not going to rid this country of guns or banana clips....it just is not going to happen. So we need to stop that kind of foolish talk and crack down hard on perps with guns. And while I am at it...I don't carry at all unless I am hunting or at a target range...but for those who do...they should be free of any guilt if they use their weapon to stop an armed perp.

    January 14, 2013 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  14. GonzoinHouston

    I would dearly love to see either side of this debate present an original argument. It just the same old songs with minor revisions, and nobody is changing anybody else's mind.

    January 14, 2013 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  15. J.V.Hodgson

    The key elements of assault weapons bans, backgound checks data base of owners = licensing, magazine or cartridge restrictions, and banning internet sales of ammunitions. The only thing I see missing is licensing of all gun sales outlets and bans on gun shows or so called private sales.... you do have to close out any loophole the NRA will invent.
    These laws impose " reasonable control" they do not take away the right to self defense or hunt and put the balance longer term in favor of the police against criminals, at least gun wise which is where it should be crazies mentally impaired or not.
    Personally oppose the idea of gunguards at schools,,, they would be the first person to be shot even by a crazy... they have proved they aint that stupid.

    January 14, 2013 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  16. labman57

    Unfortunately, the NRA, their lackeys in Congress, and the myriad of delusional right wing "Save the Second Amendment" conspiracy theorists do not represent - nor are they even receptive to - the welfare, concerns, and points of view of the vast majority of the American people, nor the policy positions and desires of the majority of the NRA membership.

    Rather, they represent the financial interests and political motivations of gun manufacturers and retailers.

    January 14, 2013 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  17. joe

    When the police, armed forces, and all gov agencies are ready to put their guns away then America will gladly follow.

    January 14, 2013 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  18. tony

    The second amendment "right to bear arms" against tyranny doesn't mention any right to trade guns. So having one gun for life, that isn't legal to part with, covers the second amendment right completely.

    Of course in WW I, the handful of german machine gun nests , massacred the advancing allied infantry, with their heavy assault rifles, by the tens of thousands on a daily basis. So I don't think any tyrannical government gives a hoot whether their citizens have guns or not.

    January 14, 2013 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  19. Squeakee

    RS and all – "gun grabbers" is being thrown around because of the proposals being floated by Sen Diane Feinstein. Go read her website and read how draconian her proposals are! Uh, they are grabbing guns if I am not allowed to maintain guns in my family from generation to generation! That's gun grabbing. Slippery slope.

    And so many people uninformed on this topic who clearly have never purchased a gun and had to fill out the form and get a background check. You already can't purchase a gun if you are mentally ill or even if you've had a retraining order taken out on you! Maybe some of you should go READ the form for yourself instead of parroting what CNN tells you!

    Enforce our laws, insist that all states use the National Background DB. Nothing I see wrong with that!

    January 14, 2013 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  20. Obama_Dogeater

    As a military member, I am NOT obligated to carry out illegal orders.

    January 14, 2013 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  21. vathneant

    Yea that is how itstarts. "we just want THESE guns" then when that has no effect they just want some other gun. and yes you idiot, there are lots of people calling for confiscation. RahmEmanuel and Nanny Bloomberg have been calling for it for decades so has the judge that sentenced Jared loughner. Just because politicians have backed off it in fear of their careers doesn't mean they've changed their minds it that we've forgotten.

    January 14, 2013 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  22. Robrob

    "Would imagine not very many seeing as how I never have heard any."

    Classic logical fallacy, "Argument from Ignorance."

    January 14, 2013 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  23. Ben

    Good luck on trying to ban high capacity magizines. Do you grandfather the existing ones? As California tried some 20 years ago, how to you determine when it was manufactured. Same with the Military style guns. So many are out there now that enforcement of a ban is out of the question. Registration? how many will not register? Confiscation? Let some LEO try to serve search warrents. Word will get out and most of the guns go underground. How many Waco type incidents will happen. Why do you think no one wants to bring this issue up before the Supreme Court? Is there a 50/50 chance it could go either way? This is poker at it's finest, the stakes are high for both the winner and the loser.

    January 14, 2013 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  24. Lakeisha

    the only gun control i support is limiting the magazine size. that's it, nothing else. banning assault weapons or guns will not stop people from committing mass killing.

    if O pulls an executive decision, we have gone to a dicatorship.

    start with banning a.w., then what next? ban the 2a too? better not

    January 14, 2013 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  25. 1984

    Annnnd while we are at it, just get rid of the other pesky amendments, tired of everyone, not just the people I like, having freedom of speech, and controversial books, need to be banned and burned, and more stop and frisk used nation wide would make us safer. Using loopholes to get out of crimes, get rid of protections concerning search and seizure. If you aren't doing anything wrong, nothing to worry about. If we don't "need" that amendment, the useless, old fashioned outdated 2nd amendment, we don't need any of them, for the same reasons, it isn't convenient so we get rid of them to enjoy the safety it will bring us. (Just in case it needs to be said, sarcasm, yep, sarcasm, look it up)

    January 14, 2013 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
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