CNN Poll: Importance of guns soars, as do gun owner concerns
April 10th, 2013
04:00 PM ET
10 years ago

CNN Poll: Importance of guns soars, as do gun owner concerns

Washington (CNN) - A majority of Americans generally favor stricter gun control laws, and there has been a big jump in the number of Americans who say that gun policy is extremely important, according to a new national poll.

But a CNN/ORC International survey released Wednesday also indicates that the increase is only good enough to move gun control to the middle of the pack when it comes to the issues that Americans think are most important to deal with over the next year.

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The CNN survey's Wednesday release comes one day before the Senate plans to vote on whether to open debate on gun control legislation that some Republicans have pledged to filibuster. That bill includes increased background checks for gun sales. A CNN poll released earlier Wednesday indicated widespread support for such a move, but the new survey finds just bare majorities backing other proposals, such as bans on extended ammunition magazines and rifles capable of semi-automatic firing.

The survey indicates that one thing standing in the way of passing stricter national gun laws is the growing perception among gun owners that the federal government is trying to take away their right to own a weapon. At the start of the year, 53% of Americans in a household with a gun said that they thought the government was trying to take away their rights; now that number has grown to 62% of all gun households.

"Not surprisingly, most people in gun households oppose tougher gun laws, while most people in a household without a gun support tougher gun control," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Gun owners and Americans without guns agree on the importance of Congress and the president dealing with gun policy this year, although they presumably want different outcomes."

Overall, 40% of Americans say that it is extremely important for government officials to deal with gun policy this year and another 31% say it is very important. That's substantially higher than the number of thought gun policy was important in previous years - a reflection of the amount of attention gun policy has gotten in the wake of December's horrific shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, which left 20 young children and six adults dead.

Despite that increase in importance, gun policy continues to rank behind the economy, the federal budget deficit, health care and Social Security in terms of overall importance to the public.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International, from April 5-7, with 1,012 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

- CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Filed under: CNN/ORC International poll • Gun control • Gun rights • Polls
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. Founder

    As much as I hate when morons use a gun (or knife, or car, etc) to hurt and kill, the "common sense regulations" arguement spouted by those who feel, by their condescending self-righteousness, the need to control everybody else isn't true..just ask one. "A Total Gun Ban" and "Future Gun Confiscation" is what their real agenda is. Sorry if folks seem skeptical and don't trust what their media ally spouts constantly, as the true desires and aims of the far left come to light.

    April 10, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  2. T

    ...........NRA actually WANTS NUTZ to have SEMI AUTOMATIC kill our KIDS..............

    April 10, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  3. longtooth

    Interesting that CNN doesn't give us a chart to reflect the main concerns of Americans. Buried in the report is that more Americans are concerned with the economy, the budget, health care, and Social Security.

    April 10, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  4. JohnRJohnson

    300 million guns in this country and it's still not enough for the NRA. Why? Because international weapons manufacturers say so.

    April 10, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    Can any of the gun controll advocates out there
    say 2nd amendent. How about bill of rights

    April 10, 2013 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  6. Don Draper's twin

    Tom... how come whenever this discussion gets ramped up there are exaggerations, misinformation, etc. No one wants to ban guns. No one wants to ban sodas. There is not a single thing that anyone wants to ban. Also, get facts straight. Chicago is not anywhere near close to the highest murder rate in the country. It was actually 16th in 2011.

    April 10, 2013 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  7. I think therefore I am

    Think again? Maybe you should think for the 1st time. It is impossible to buy a gun online and have it delivered to your door unless you hold an FFL. Know what that is? I didn't think so. It is a Federal Firearms License. It is possible to order a gun online and it will be deliver from one FFL to another FFL. To take possession it is FEDERAL law to fill out the FEDERAL

    April 10, 2013 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  8. trp48

    Gurgyl is right. That is what I have been thinking all along. Education is the key. and not just in relation to guns but to all of the problems we are having in the US. This country has a government that doesn't know how to balance a checkbook, citizens that can't or wont raise their children, millions of people living off of the hard work of others and this countries priorities in the wrong order. There are other things killing people in this country that the government approves but i don't see any headlines about it on CNN or FOX, i.e., cigaretts cause cancer according to the CDC but they still allow us to have them. Yeah, it may not be as dramatic of a death as a gunmen on a rampage but the end result is the same. I am a republican, I am a gun owner, I am reasonable, I support background checks.

    April 10, 2013 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  9. Fubarack

    In 2011, the Department of Homeland Securityreported the deportation of 35,927 illegal immigrants convicted of driving under the influence.3 Congressman Steve King (R-IA) asserts that illegal alien drunk drivers kill over 4,700 Americans a year — 13 U.S. citizens die every 24 hours.4 Another study, published by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, cited motor vehicle crashes as the single leading cause of death for Hispanics between the ages of one and 44.5 And according to an analysis by the New York Times, about 4.5 million illegal aliens in the U.S. drive on a regular basis, many without licenses or insurance, or even the ability to read road signs written in English.

    April 10, 2013 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  10. I think therefore I am

    transfer form, have a background check and THEN you can take your gun home. I did notice you said weapon and not specifically gun. BTW in Colorado it is required to have a background check at gun shows, these check include the CBI (Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the Federal level check).

    RS, seriously doubt there have been 3,300 Americans killed since December by guns alone. It took years for that many to die in active war zones like Iraq and Afghanistan. You guys really destroy you credibility when you spout off make believe numbers.

    April 10, 2013 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  11. ig88a

    What does international weapons manufactureres have to do with anything?

    April 10, 2013 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  12. Truth

    If you buy a firearm from either a dealer or gun show, you must have a background check.
    If a private to private sell goes from one State to another, you must have a background check.
    ONLY way to NOT have a background check is an in-State private to private transaction or steal a gun....

    April 10, 2013 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  13. tessbrat

    Bring back capitol punishment in all states. If your INTENT is to kill someone you die. Reduce the wait time to death and be done with it. The crazies will find a way to get a gun, bans will not stop that. Your a fool if you think it will. Crazy people do not care about the law. Our country is too soft on punishment. Going to prison is sometimes like living in a motel and we pay for it. People get a hold of a gun, go on a shooting spree then we just slap their hand. Again no law will stop someone from getting a gun if they really want one. Lets address the real issue...... people think it's ok to kill and not much will happen to them.

    April 10, 2013 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  14. bill

    What a joke at how these NRA fools think it's the gang bangers going into these schools and movie theaters committing mass murder. Virginia Tech, Arizona, Aurora, Columbine, Newton, etc., etc., etc., Guns should NOT be in the hands of these "law abiding citizens" as the NRA folks call them, there is no need for military style weapons, and there is absolutely no reason why there should be sooo many background check loop holes. What a complete and sick joke how NRA right wing morons think we need an armed society in order to be safe when going to school, church or the movies. If the right wing nut jobs want a militarized society so badly why don't all you fools move to Syria or Iraq. Too many Americans have fought and died for this Country so that we may enjoy our freedoms and society and yet the NRA just wants to spit on the American flag! If arming and killing Americans wasn't so profitable for the NRA they wouldn't even be spewing this junk about 2nd Amendment rights.

    April 10, 2013 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  15. cosmo

    NOTE: To all you ignorant ones that think all us crazy NRA members and gun owners are opposed to back ground checks are wrong.

    April 10, 2013 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  16. madnessofjack progs are sooooo trust worthy.
    NY passed "gun control" laws just recently and this is what we get????

    From WeazelZippers
    "New York Man’s Pistol License Suspended, Police Attempt To Seize Guns After His 10-Year-Old Son Talks About His Water-Gun At School…"
    "A New York father has had his firearms all but confiscated after the Suffolk County Pistol License Bureau suspended his pistol license indefinitely over a perceived threat made by his 10-year-old son and two of his classmates at school.

    John Mayer, of Commack, N.Y., told TheBlaze that the incident occurred on March 1

    April 10, 2013 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  17. Steve Lyons

    The NRA did not write the 2nd Amendment, the winners of the revolutionary war did.

    The winners of the revolutionary war were CIVILIANS with "assault" weapons.

    A tyrannical government FEARS that could happen again and have been trying to disarm the US for decades.

    It started by requiring a special license and tax on class three weapons.

    It expanded by restricting civilian ownership to pre 1985 full auto.

    And now the UN small arms treaty.

    But the moderators fear this knowledge.

    April 10, 2013 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  18. Senior

    ANONYMOUS:I can say 2nd Amendment, all the parents of Newtown can say Second Amendment, can you understand that this amendment predates assault weapons be quite a few years. So what is YOUR point?

    April 10, 2013 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  19. SB1790

    Keeping tabs on guns and placing tighter controls on legal gun sales is not going to make the statistics go down any significant amount. We'll be having the total gun ban discussion after the next major news event shooting by someone who stole a gun from a legal gun owner.

    April 10, 2013 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  20. Gordon

    Do you think any main-stream media is going to admit that most Americans don't want changes to gun control laws? Not for a minute.

    April 10, 2013 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  21. bill

    Tell me, all you NRA right wing nut jobs, what do "law abiding citizens" really have to fear from comprehensive background checks and closing background check loopholes?? I mean, does the NRA have this much to fear from background checks that they have to spend millions and millions of dollars on ads, lobbyists and GOP/Tea Party campaign contributions fighting such measures??

    April 10, 2013 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
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