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

    In my state, loopholes in the law allow people to buy weapons online and at gun shows without a background check, so guess where the crazies and criminals do their shopping?

    Requiring background checks on EVERY sale WILL reduce the number of weapons in the hands of crazies and criminals.

    If you're not crazy or a criminal – you have nothing to worry about.

    Republicans, the NRA and anyone opposing background checks are protecting crazies and criminals.

    April 10, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  2. rs

    Well, let's face it, 3,300 American deaths by firearms since the massacre in Newtown mid-December out to be news, and be on the minds of Americans. This is made ever more important when half of the government shrugs its' shoulders and lets the ever more bizarre NRA make policy for our great nation.

    Simply put, one would expect that having 26 first graders and teacher blown away by a heaviliy armed lunatic should result in discussion and policy change- add in all of the other gun tragedies of late and one really has to wonder why this is so hard for the filibustering Republicans- or why they wish to be drawn into the politcal trap of being so heavily identifed with the crazy NRA, and its bloodlust philosophies. Their polictical cred is nearly non-existant- this sort of inaction and support for the arms makers when 90% of America demads action looks a lot like political suicide.

    April 10, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  3. CHA

    CNN doing polls to CNN viewers.....hmmmmmm Wonder what CNN thinks about OUR right to own a firearm of OUR choice (not the gov). CNN News: GUNS ARE BAD....GUNS KILL......GUNS ARE RACIST (always use the race card when down and out).....CNN equals the worst news on TV for the simple fact that they "act" like they care about your rights while supporting to strip them away. Hey if you do not agree with someone's rights just strip them away right? I seen that somewhere before OH YEAH THE JIM CROW ERA. Wonder who the real bigots are here.

    April 10, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  4. ThinkAgain

    @rs: "Their polictical cred is nearly non-existant- this sort of inaction and support for the arms makers when 90% of America demads action looks a lot like political suicide."

    Which is why the GOP is spending so much time and energy trying to suppress voters and change electoral college rules – because that's the only way they can win elections.

    The Dems losing so badly in 2010 is continuing to haunt and harm us ...

    April 10, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  5. sonny chapman

    Apathy & Public Fatigue are the allies of the NRA. The longer this thing boils, the better chance of some kind of Common Sense Gun Laws.

    April 10, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  6. ThinkAgain

    To all those gun nuts out there who think that the only thing stopping the guvment from taking away all their stuff and tossing them in jail is their guns:

    The government has a LOT more fire power than you and your paranoid freak friends will ever have – and yet you still have your guns.

    Your delusion may make you feel all big and important, but for the rest of us, you're all real pains in the rears.

    April 10, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  7. Gurgyl

    Nation needs Education–not guns.

    April 10, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  8. matt

    the gun control solutions currently being pushed by the president do not address the current wave of violence commited by these crazies. a national database would only identify law abiding citizens. i think we have already have an example of something that has worked and that is the no-fly list employed by the airlines. if we had a no-gun list that gunshops and gun shows could reference that while not perfect, would protect us from giving the government a way to sieze our guns later.

    April 10, 2013 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  9. Donna

    Gun owners will come out IN FORCE in 2014 Democrats. We have very long memories and WE VOTE. You can kiss control of the Senate good bye.

    April 10, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  10. just sayin

    Gurgyl - Nation needs Education–not guns.

    you mean our liberal controlled, union run public schools are a failure??? after spending endless billions??? hmmmm......

    April 10, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  11. mike

    The whole problem is allowing the gun-control lobby to take hold of the debate from day one. We are now all focused on "the gun", either attacking the 2A, or defending it.

    Meanwhile the killers, the people responsible for holding, aiming, and squeezing the trigger, are ignored. The best thing that could happen to this country is for these bills to go away. Maybe then, with that out of the way, the nation could start addressing crime prevention in general.

    April 10, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  12. Fran C P

    CNN is a paid shill for White House policy. I don't understand how anyone with a brain doesn't see that.

    April 10, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  13. Arsh

    The reason folks why this is a difficult discussion is no one is reasonable. Instead of enforcing current laws the dems want to just outright ban guns. So rather than republicans agreeing to enforce laws they see the dems trying to ban guns and say screw you we need less laws. this is the dems fault for being unreasonable. an unreasonable suggestion will garner an unreasonable response.

    April 10, 2013 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  14. Dear Kenyan Leader

    What the nation needs to do is split up so the US government can cease being a danger to Americans and the rest of the world. The progressive idiots that want to be victims can live in a gun free zone while the rest of us live in peace and security.

    April 10, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  15. DueDiligence4

    >>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.
    Wow... a new national poll.... MUST be true.

    April 10, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  16. Paul

    Do people really think that more guns would mean less shootings? Here's a deal for the NRA. Lets remove all restrictions and if shootings go down we leave as is. However, if shootings increase then we confiscate all guns except those used for hunting. Deal?

    April 10, 2013 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  17. dplandry

    More children die in car accidents so where's the outrage there? Why just the gun violence or accidents? Could it really be about control perhaps???

    April 10, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  18. james

    ppl also need to realize obama set in his ways taking orders from the united nations to do this crap to fallow the arms treaty, also dian feinstien has these civilian armys made up thrught dhs, i know i started taking the training, even got awards from congress and the department of justice for doing the training, thank god after the first exsperiance i quit doing the training after i found out why they had this training, they are creating the training for civil unrest!

    April 10, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    "i think we have already have an example of something that has worked and that is the no-fly list employed by the airlines."

    That no-fly list is actually supposed to show up in background checks and prevent gun ownership or at least raise serious red flags that need to be addressed when someone on it tries to buy a gun. Know what happens because we have no centralized national background check databases and systems in place? People on the no fly list buy guns all the time. The NRA and gun nuts are opposing background check legislation and a universal background check system BECAUSE THEY DON'T WANT A SYSTEM THAT WORKS. They want the current patchwork of 50 different levels of regulation, information collection, enforcement and willingness to enforce TO STAY THE SAME precisely because that is exactly what makes it all broken. every time someone slips through the cracks and buys a gun, that's profit for the people who make and sell guns and profit for the NRA who takes their money to lobby for them.

    April 10, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  20. ocean akers

    I think tht there should be a gun control bc what happend in newton was terriblle

    April 10, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  21. Thinking!

    The anti-gunners are right. If we can save just one life...the life of just one child, we need to do everything we can.

    That is why after guns, we need to take on alcohol.

    According to the CDC, there were over 80,000 deaths attributable to alcohol, several thousand of which were due to drunk driving and other negligence. 80,000!!!

    Perhaps we can start small and push for the limitation of "high capacity" bottles (anything larger than 12 oz, because who needs more than 12 oz at any given time?). We can then remove spirits and wine, because those have a much higher concentration of alcohol! Finally, we can have some kind of full ban of alcohol...a prohibition! A prohibition is truly the only way to prevent all alcohol-related deaths and crime. Oh society would be truly a moral utopia then.

    Won't you help ban alcohol? Think of the children!

    April 10, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    "More children die in car accidents so where's the outrage there?"

    I'm sorry you missed several decades of outrage over unsafe driving practices, drunk driving, etc., and the continuous stream of legislation that followed that outrage in an attempt to reduce the incidence rate of those accidents etc. Would yo like us to press the reset button so you can do the past several decade over again and pay attention this time?

    April 10, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  23. tom

    Silly politicians who are so deluded they think they can fix anything by enacting a ban of some kind. Bloomberg leads the pack. Ban sodas. Ban guns. Ban anything His Emminence decides he doesn't like. Ban Ban Ban. The perpetual simplistic brain-dead liberal answer to everything. But who gets impacted the most? Law-abiding gunowners. Not the gang bangers or their initiates, not the serial killers, not the mass murderers, not the cop killers, not the felons, not the thrill killers. Why does Chicago have the highest murder rate in the country? Because Chicago wants it that way. It gives them the perfect excuse to enact ever more restricive controls using the argument that what they have is not enough. And this is exactly what the federal government is up to. Wait for a "crisis," enact more government controls, more restrictions, less freedom, repeat cycle. Meanwhile do nothing to weed out the mental defectives who commit these crimes.

    April 10, 2013 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  24. Fubarack

    Luckily, the grabbers have already lost the argument. If anything passes at all, it will just be to make the few states that do not already have checks comply. The reason CNN can't figure out that reality does not match their polls, is because they are push polling.

    April 10, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  25. scott h

    As an edit to my comment the 3,300 figure, when multiped by 3 (i used 4) is 9,900 and only a hair off in terms of % of distracted driving-related deaths.

    April 10, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
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