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Should There Be Tighter Gun Control? [POLL]

Scott Olson, Getty Images

Let the debate begin… or continue over guns. Yesterday, President Obama announced that he wanted “concrete” plans on the issue of guns by January. In the wake of the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut more and more Americans seem to favor major gun restrictions. According to CNN:

And the CNN/ORC International poll released Wednesday also indicates that a bare majority now favor major restrictions on owning guns or an outright ban on gun ownership by ordinary citizens and more than six in ten favor a ban on semi-automatic assault rifles.

 

Forty-six percent of people questioned in the poll say that that government and society can take action to prevent future gun violence. That’s up 13 percentage points from January 2011, following a shooting incident in Tucson, Arizona that left six dead and some, including then Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, severely injured. A 53% majority still believes that attacks will continue to happen regardless of any action taken, but that’s down 13 points from January 2011.

 

“Any changes in attitudes towards guns and gun violence are likely due to the highly emotional reaction many Americans have had to the recent shootings,” said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Some would argue though, that after any mass shooting support for tighter gun control goes up then comes back down after a while. According to Gallup, banning guns isn’t the only… or most popular answer.

Much of the discussion since Friday’s devastating mass shooting has focused on the potential efficacy of new laws on gun sales and ownership. Forty-two percent of Americans say that banning the sale of semi-automatic weapons would be “very effective” in preventing mass shootings. Another 21% say such actions would be “somewhat effective,” and 36% say they would be “not effective.”

 

Americans rated the effectiveness of three potential actions higher than the semi-automatic weapon ban. But it is clear that Americans are not overwhelmingly convinced that any of the actions would be highly effective in preventing future school shootings.

 

  • Slightly more than half (53%) of Americans say that increased police presence would be very effective. This action is at the top of the effectiveness list.
  • The only other action that a majority of Americans view as very effective is government spending on mental health screening and treatment — 50% say this would be very effective.
  • Forty-seven percent say decreasing media and video game gun violence would be very effective.

Americans were least likely to say that arming at least one school official at every school and the news media refusing to publicize the name of the shooter would be very effective strategies.


There are major partisan differences in the ratings of several — but not all — of the potential actions tested.

The biggest differences between Democrats and Republicans are on the banning of assault weapons — 61% of Democrats rate it as very effective vs. 26% of Republicans — and spending more on mental health actions — 67% of Democrats say it would be very effective vs. 35% of Republicans.

 

Democrats are less positive than Republicans about the effectiveness of arming school officials and decreasing the depiction of gun violence in the media and in video games.

 

What do you think? Are you in favor of tighter gun control laws? Let us know in today’s KFYO Poll of the Day.


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