October 2nd, 2013
09:56 AM ET
11 months ago

Poll: Stricter gun laws would not have stopped Navy Yard shooter

Washington (CNN) - Support for background checks for all gun-buyers remains high, but more than six in 10 American voters say tougher gun laws would not have prevented last month's Washington Navy Yard Shooting, according to a new poll.

The Quinnipiac University survey released Wednesday also indicates two-thirds of voters support Starbucks' recent request for customers not to bring guns into their stores.

The gun control debate saw renewed attention in last month after Colorado voters recalled two Democratic state senators who supported the state's unpopular new gun laws, and after a gunman killed 12 people at the Navy Yard in a deadly mass shooting.

Also in September, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz publicly asked gun owners not to bring their weapons when they buy their coffee, even though the company has policy of allowing them to do so where permitted by state law. Schultz made the announcement after a group of gun owners announced plans online for a "Starbucks Appreciation Day" in recognition of the chain's policy, sparking a PR nightmare for the company.

Gun control also came up in Missouri, where lawmakers failed to override governor's veto on a bill that would have let residents own a machine gun, and in Iowa, where people who are legally blind were granted permits to buy and carry firearms.

Among the 66% who support Schultz's plea, 52% live in gun households, according to the survey. Fifteen percent say the request makes them more likely to go to Starbucks for coffee, while 11% say less likely and 72% it doesn't make a difference.

As for gun control laws, a slight majority of voters support stricter firearm regulations, 54%-41%. Zooming in to just voters who live in gun households, the number flips; 56% oppose new laws, while 40% favor them.

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While the September 16 Navy Yard shooting briefly amplified the gun control debate, calls for new laws quickly quieted down as Congress became more consumed with trying to avert the government shutdown.

"Americans somewhat favor more gun control but more than three in five say stricter gun control would not have stopped the Washington Navy Yard shooter," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

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Meanwhile, support for background checks for all gun-buyers still remains sky-high at 89%, essentially unchanged from several Quinnipiac polls conducted after the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in December that left 20 children and six adults killed.

Among those who favor background checks, 88% live in gun households, according to the survey.

Despite the strong public support, the Senate fell short of the votes needed to proceed with gun legislation in April that would have required background checks for firearm purchases online and at gun shows.

Quinnipiac surveyed 1,497 registered voters by telephone from September 23-29. The poll has a sampling error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.


Filed under: Gun control • Gun rights • Polls
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    Support for background checks for all gun-buyers remains high, but more than six in 10 American voters say tougher gun laws would not have prevented last month's Washington Navy Yard Shooting, according to a new poll.
    ------------------------–
    Are we passing opinion polls off as facts? Are you telling me that a man with a troubling history of gun violence would, or should, still be allowed to buy a gun?

    October 2, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  2. Data Driven

    I suppose that it hasn't occurred to some of that 89% that new gun laws might have prevented the lunatic from obtaining his own guns in the first place. Cognitive dissonance, or just no cognition at all?

    October 2, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  3. Stanley Jermnowski

    Guns are here to stay, it is part of the American Heritage. New laws will only make some honest citizens criminals. Prosecute crimes committed with a gun to the max, the only new law that might make a difference is to increase the penalty for crime committed with a gun. You cannot prevent a mentally disturbed person from committing a crime.

    October 2, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  4. rs

    Perhaps not. However, stricter background checks would have- something 90% of Americans want. Hear that one GOP?

    October 2, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  5. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Fifteen percent say the request makes them more likely to go to Starbucks for coffee, while 11% say less likely and 72% it doesn't make a difference."

    Sad day in America overall when one is polled as to whether one would or would not be more willing to enter a public establishment that does or does not allow guns.

    October 2, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  6. tom l

    "Sad day in America overall when one is polled as to whether one would or would not be more willing to enter a public establishment that does or does not allow guns."

    Since a bad person with a gun will not follow the rules where there are "gun free zones" – please reference Navy Gunyard Shooter, Sandy Hook, Colorado movie theater, Fort Hood – I believe it is pure fantasy to think that just because a business doesn't allow gun that rule be followed. I'm not sure what's to understand here. Bad people do not follow rules so do you honestly think that a would-be shooter walks up to a Starbucks and says "ooooops, that's a gun free zone, I'm not allowed to shoot people there!" Sheesh.

    October 2, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  7. sonny chapman

    The poll is probably correct; background checks would not have stopped THIS shooting. If only ONE life is saved from background checks, isn't it worth the slight inconvenience ? Make it harder to vote & easier to buy weapons that CAN BE turned into killing machines doesn't sound very adult like to me. REPUBS: Stop thinking & acting like 12 years old. The future of this Country you claim to love so much will crumble w/out a little bit of sacrifice by all-including YOU.

    October 2, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  8. Silence DoGood

    More guns thrown around would not have stopped him either. This is not a hero movie. He took guns from some of the guards!

    Psycho guy will not be stopped by more laws OR more good guys with guns. Psycho guy does not care about laws and since he had clearance he was a "good guy"!!!

    October 2, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  9. Lynda/Minnesota

    "I'm not sure what's to understand here."

    Correct. You do not understand.

    October 2, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  10. Wake up People!

    No new gun laws!!

    Strap up the babies the moment they leave the wombs!!

    Yee ha!! AK's for EVERYBODY!!

    October 2, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  11. Data Driven

    @Tom L,

    So a place with armed guards like the Navy Yard is a gun-free zone? Okay.

    Meanwhile, let's annul all criminal laws, including the law against murder. After all, people commit crimes, so what good are deterrents?

    I'm just glad you didn't post the "demagogue" thing again on this story.

    October 2, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  12. PaulG

    News flash, we already have background checks. Stop acting like we don't.

    October 2, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  13. PaulG

    News flash two, our rights are not dependent on some poll result. We live in a constitutional republic, not a pure democracy where mob rules. The federal government is restricted by the US Constitution and for good reason, to protect our rights.

    October 2, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  14. James Fugedy

    17,000 people per year killed in motor vehicle accidents. Seat belt laws have reduced deaths. 30,000 people die of gunshot wounds each year in the US (and 100,000 people are wounded). What can we do to reduce these numbers? Simple question.

    October 2, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  15. Rudy NYC

    Stanley Jermnowski

    Guns are here to stay, it is part of the American Heritage. New laws will only make some honest citizens criminals.
    -------------------------
    That will only happen to the "honest citizens" who are in fact criminals. Every gun on the black market began started out as a valid purchase by some honest citizen. Did you know that there are no federal laws that prohibit interstate gun trafficking?

    Did you know that the NRA fought against mental illness histories being used for a background check during the Reagan admnistration, which passed legislation prohibiting the use of medical histories in background checks? Did you know that just a little more than a decade ago that the NRA was fully behind the type of background checks favored by Democrats?

    Did you know that the entire Board of Directors of the NRA is comprised of CEOs, owners, and top executives at gun and ammo manufacturrers? Do you realize that that means that there is not a single weekend hunter represented on the board, which means that there policies are directed by people who want nothing more but to sell more guns and ammo?

    October 2, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  16. Kim Bertle

    Data Driven says "So a place with armed guards like the Navy Yard is a gun-free zone? Okay."

    Yes. Just like schools are "gun free zones" but armed police/security guards are allowed to carry weapons – e.g. Columbine. And courthouses, where Joe Citizen can't possess a gun, but Leo the Police Officer is allowed. And banks with armed guards. And sporting events. And ... well, do I really need to give more examples?

    October 2, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  17. tom l

    @Data Driven,
    Lol on the "demagogue thing". I didn't mean to post that so many times. :)

    As far as this is concerned, yes indeed, the Navy yard was a "gun free zone". Your comment about getting rid of all laws makes no sense. It just doesn't. There has to be punishments for crimes (and crimes need to be defined) so what you're saying is a complete non sequiter. But making something a "gun free zone" only takes the guns out of the bad guy's hands. It doesn't mean that it will be the wild west, it just means that the criminal won't know whether someone has a gun or not. Think of it this way, if I know your house is a gun free zone and I don't know whether the house next door has a gun, which place am I going to go.

    In a perfect world, gun free zones would be great. But we don't live in that type of world. We live in reality. I think declaring a place "gun free" is only a feel-good measure that has no significance whatsoever.

    October 2, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  18. tom l

    Can someone tell me how many shootings , that weren't accidents, there have been at gun shows? Certainly no criminals have gone there to shoot people.

    October 2, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  19. Rudy NYC

    James Fugedy wrote:

    17,000 people per year killed in motor vehicle accidents. Seat belt laws have reduced deaths. 30,000 people die of gunshot wounds each year in the US (and 100,000 people are wounded). What can we do to reduce these numbers? Simple question
    ---------------------–
    You've overlooked the fact that 20,000 of those who die annually from gunshot wounds are actually self-inflicted, suicides. It is now believed that the Navy Yard shooter committed what is known as "suicide by police." Ever heard that phrase before?

    October 2, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |