CNN Poll: Gun control opinions following shootings
August 9th, 2012
01:00 PM ET
10 years ago

CNN Poll: Gun control opinions following shootings

Washington (CNN) - Americans' attitudes toward gun control have remained steady in the wake of the recent shootings in Colorado and Wisconsin, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/ORC International poll released Thursday indicates that the public remains divided on the issue, with 50% saying they favor no restrictions or only minor restrictions on owning guns and 48% supporting major restrictions or a complete ban on gun ownership by individuals except police and other authorized personnel.

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Those numbers are identical to where they were in 2011, and the number who support major restrictions or a complete ban has remained in the 48%-to-50% range for more than a decade.

"Not surprisingly, there are gender and ideological gaps on this issue, with more than six in ten women and two thirds of self-described liberals supporting major restrictions or a complete ban, compared to just 34% of men and 36% of self-described conservatives," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "And major restrictions on guns are most popular in urban areas and in the Northeast than in the rest of the country."

What specific restrictions do Americans favor?

The poll indicates that two meet with almost unanimous approval: Ninety-six percent are in favor of background checks and 91% support laws to prevent convicted felons or people with mental health problems from owning guns.

Three-quarters of people questioned favor gun registration with local governments, and roughly six in ten favor bans on the sale or possession of semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips. But 54% oppose a limit on the number of guns an individual can own, and only one in ten think that all Americans should be prevented from owning guns.

"It's important to note that the numbers on those proposals have also remained essentially unchanged in the wake of the recent shootings," adds Holland.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International Tuesday and Wednesday (August 7-8), after Sunday's shootings at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin and after last month's shootings at a movie theater in Colorado.

One-thousand and ten adult Americans were questioned by telephone in the survey. The poll's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this story

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Filed under: CNN/ORC poll • Gun rights
soundoff (228 Responses)
  1. cyg

    So, if I see your concealed weapon slip – since I am fearing for my life – I'm justified in taking your scalp clean off, because I felt threatened in advance of what you might do. Right? Just making sure it's a two way street GOP.

    August 9, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  2. Keith

    I believe everyone has the right to own a gun, or even more than one gun. I also believe there MUST be sensible limits on the type of weapons and ammunition a private citizen can own. I would like to see these restrictions. First, nothing automatic or semi-automatic. Second, for handguns, you can only own a revolver, six shot maximum. Rifle, to chamber a new round requires a discrete action such as a bolt action reload. Shotgun, no more than two barrels, and reloading requires breaking down the gun. Complete elimination of clips and magazines.
    I know, the bad guys will have us outgunned. Well, guess what, they already do. These restrictions will have no impact on hunters, target shooters or people wanting to own a weapon for self defense. They will reduce the likelihood that a crazy person can legally buy a weapon capable of killing scores of people with non-stop firing.
    You can't stop crazy people from buying guns. Who are the crazys? Are you suggesting we all take a crazy test before being allowed to by a gun? If so, how often does the crazy test need to be re-taken.

    August 9, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  3. Reality

    When ever any mass shooting happens, America should compensate victims as they did to 9/11 victims and they should get that money from the gun supporters or impose tax on gun sales for getting that money.

    August 9, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
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