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. mike Lake Orion Michigan

    You can forget about owning a weapon if Obama is re-elected. The criminals will have them though!

    August 9, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  2. Katie

    So the current policy of restricting guns isn't working. Crazies are going to get guns no matter what, so how about a different approach? How about making every man within a certain age (say, between the ages 25-65), who is mentally stable, required to carry a gun? Let's think about it.... There would more than likely be a lot less crime.. People would think twice about walking up into a movie theater and shooting up the place. They would realize "Hey, there are 100 other men in the theater that have a weapon. I would be shot on site if I whipped out a gun and aimed it at anyone.." Of course there are going to be alot of people that don't agree with what I'm saying, but if you think about it, it makes sense. I think it would sway a lot of people from thinking of shooting anyone else, or robbing/assaulting innocent people for the fear of another man whipping out their gun and shooting them dead, too. Food for thought.

    August 9, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  3. Jokesterer

    If you can get 38 state legislatures to repeal the 2nd Amendment, we'll turn in our guns. Until then, leave us alone. We know there will be shootings like these but until the 2nd Amendment is repealed, all we can do is clean up the bodies and get ready for the next one. If you don't want to play the game anymore, move someplace where there's no 2nd Amendment. Like Norway.

    August 9, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  4. Valerie

    I think hand guns need to be outlawed, i understand hunting guns, but i do not see any reason for high power asult weapons or hand guns or militery weapons in the hands of the population. people who keep hand guns in their homes coud easly keep tazers in their homes.. or guns that shoot rubber bullets. like prisons use. and i think all hunting guns should be keept in a time lock vault, if u own hunting weapons u should have to have a time lock vault set for the fall hunting season. (i know servivalist feel a need to own weapons for protection for an apocaliptic event, but, do they need high power assult weapons?)

    August 9, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  5. capitalismiskool

    Hey Sam, In response to your comment to Trey about hammers and knifes being able to kill only one person while guns can kill massive amounts. Ever hear of cars running into crowds of people? Better make cars illegal.

    August 9, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  6. MACT

    If gun ownership made us safer, then states with the highest gun ownership would have the lowest crime and death rates. In fact it is just the opposite, so it seems the correct statement is ‘gun ownership makes us LESS safe’

    August 9, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  7. 90 Days until Obama is RE-ELECTED

    @Gary (and others) – Gun control has never worked, and never will.
    Yawn.. same old argument. Gun control works fine in most other civilized countries, but not for the loonies in the US. Look up the stats. If you believe possession of your high capacity 44 mag is going to stand up against govt tyranny or the forces they send to restrain you, there's more sci-fi on channel 55 !! Fact is – there is no other purpose for a handgun except to kill. Sure, guns don't jump up on their own and kill people, but the "guns don't kill, people kill" phrase is old hat. It's like say cars don't kill people, it's the people driving them that do. But then, no guns, no people killing people with guns. Logical extrapolation.There are more people killed by guns in the US every day than by cars..

    And the criminals will always get guns.. is more bunk!!!! In today's "readily available" world, sure they will. Ban hand guns and assault weapons completely and the death rate will go down slowly as they become less and less available.

    It's common sense... something many are lacking !

    August 9, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  8. founders1791


    2012 – Teenager Kills 8 in China Knife Attack

    2011 – Axe-wielding Chinese man kills six

    2010 – Man stabs, kills 8 children outside school in China

    2010 – Man kills 3 children in latest Chinese kindergarten attack

    2008 – Knife man kills five Shanghai police officers

    2004 – Man with knife kills eight at Chinese high school


    August 9, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  9. darquarious

    The Gov't makes too much money off the sales of guns, all kinds of guns, to ever ban them.

    But even Obama is smart enough to know there's no good reason for regular people, or gorillas, to be able to purchase AK Assault rifles.

    Guns fo self defense or hunting are fine.

    AK assault style of guns should only be sold to military and law enforcement period.

    That's common logic, which I realize is eroded from a large portion of Americans these days. Not all, or even not most, but quite a few.

    August 9, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  10. Valerie

    I also feel everything gun realted being bought, should have the buyers name and all info about them on each and every sale, and all should run through a centrel computer system so it can keep an eye on who is buying what how much and how often. full dissclosure should be part of buying anything with potentile harm to others, be it knives bullets explosive items, anything that could cause harm!

    August 9, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  11. Kelcy

    As long as so many people continue to want their guns then we should all stop carping about mass shootings. Mass killings are the only things semi-automatic guns are useful for. Not going to go take out a deer herd with them.

    August 9, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "If it were that big of a problem then there would be law abiding citizens out murdering people on a daily basis"

    They're not? News to me. Gun related homicides are consistently in the range of 10K per year in this country. That's about 30 per day. This excludes all the suicides, accidents and unexplained deaths...not to mention counting injuries.

    BTW, I had to ignore your weird use of "law abiding" and "out murdering people" in the same sentence...clearly, people who murder are not "law abiding" anymore, even if they bought the gun according to the law.

    August 9, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  13. Mike

    To all of you anti-gun people out there. Get over it. It is our right, whether you like it or not. If you think a ban on guns would do any good you are sadly confused. Drugs are illegal and criminals get those right? Hmmm, guess if guns were illegal, who would be the only people who had them? Oh right, criminals..Yea, I rather enjoy the fact that someone is not just going to come kick my door in and take my nice big screen tv because they have the fear in the back of their mind that they could get shot. Take that fear away, and guess what, no one will be safe ever again. You may not like guns and even be against guns, but guess what? They are the only thing that keep you safe. Facts are facts, like it or not, can't dispute the facts.

    August 9, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  14. Steve

    How many more people need to die in Assault Vehicle accidents before we outlaw Assault Vehicles?

    August 9, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  15. Mike

    Just an FYI, Washington, DC has a ban on guns and they are the murder capitol of the US. It's a proven FACT that banning guns does not work...Don't believe me, just ask the people in Washington, DC. Wake up people. You can't be that stupid...

    August 9, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  16. Icyhott

    makak- so by your logic the the first amendment would only protect free speech written on parchment? Twitter facebook and alll the other technology wasnt around when it was written so its not covered?

    August 9, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  17. Workers Unite !

    Liberals constantly think that if they can just control one more aspect of life then they will have created the perfect sosiety. Only problem is they never stop thinking.

    August 9, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  18. scott hastings

    The only way something can be done is if the pro-life believers and religious right take a stand against the NRA and support more gun control. Prolifers should support life and not guns, shouldn't they????

    August 9, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  19. 2nd Amendment

    Hitler, Castro, Quaddafi, Stalin, Idi Amin, Mao Tse-tung, Pol Pot and Kim Jong-il all agree that gun control works!

    August 9, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  20. laststonecarver

    Everyone should not deserve a right to bear arms. Those who have lost the ability to reason, should lose their right to bear arms.
    Certainly those who have been trained in the proper handling of weaponry, could and should understand proper usage of whatever weapons.
    Those who walk into a theater, or school, or work place and shoot it up, should not have a right to bear arms.
    If your paranoia has so deluded your thought processes, that it appears that everyone is out to get you and your guns, maybe just maybe you are pretty close to that edge, or over that edge of reasoning clearly.

    August 9, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  21. vbscript2

    "roughly six in ten favor bans on the sale or possession of semi-automatic weapons"

    In other news, roughly six in ten probably don't even know what semi-automatic means. Most weapons are semi-automatic. Semi-auto just means that it ejects the spent shell and loads the next round each time after firing. It still requires a separate trigger pull for each shot. This is a big difference from full-auto weapons where you just hold the trigger down and it keeps firing. The vast majority of guns are semi-auto, including even most hunting rifles and many shot guns.

    August 9, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  22. Brian

    I find it funny that so many people think semi automatic technology should be banned. Fully automatic AK 47's and AR 15's are already banned for selling unless you have a government approval. Semi automatic ar 15's are used for hunting and self defense. Banning High capacity magazines and semi automatic technology would solve nothing. What would your excuse be when a person walks in with a pump shotgun or bolt action rifle and kills a bunch of people. Those guns only hold 5 shots but you can reload them with in seconds.

    Most people who are in favor of a ban know nothing about guns and have never fired one to know how it operates.

    August 9, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  23. Greyhound

    Orso, I own several firearms that could be classified as "assault weapons". I have never committed a crime with them, nor do I intend to. Everyone else I know with an "assault weapon" is the same. Careful with your wording. Not everyone with a supposed assault weapon is using it for a crime. In fact, the number of crimes commited with long guns in general is laughably low.

    August 9, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  24. Reality

    Looks like American women have more balls than men, 60% women don't need a gun to protect themselves while 6 in 10 men need gun protection.

    August 9, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  25. amarjeet

    Being a father in a family, you are powerful & more responsible. Similarly when you own guns, you have to be more responsible in behavior & conduct in public & family life. More power makes you not reckless but responsible as well sensitive to all around in society. Firing & killing innocents without cause is a great inhuman crime. Even with cause you cannot target everyone other than responsible for bad behavior. Carrying assault weapon in public assembly is illegal as well irrational. As you go into masses, you have to like masses. For extra self-defense, you got to avoid mass collections in public places. For more reasonable act & environments in public places only conduct of arms possessors needs to be regulated like driving on the road to avoid danger to other’s rights, freedom & liberty in public highways. It is just a safety precaution applicable to you too when without arms & in family environments that is universal requirement. No body stops you buying a weapon for self-defense but assault weapon are only for forces for training, rehearsal on firing range and use in war field. In a civilized society conduct & behavior is regulated by law, reason, rationality & responsibility to self as well others.

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