Record High—74 Percent—Oppose Handgun Ban, 51 Percent Oppose Semi-Automatic Ban, 58 Percent Favor Stricter Gun Laws

In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newton, Connecticut, Gallup finds Americans want stricter gun laws but a record number oppose gun bans. Some may have expected increased support for gun bans; however, Americans are not convinced that taking away private ownership of guns is necessarily the solution. They are, however, open to toughening gun laws.

A record high number—74 percent—of Americans oppose banning the possession of handguns, up from 67 percent in 2004. When Gallup first asked this question in 1959, only 36 percent of Americans agreed. Today, a record low number (24 percent) of Americans favor a handgun ban. Even the more relevant question of private ownership of semi-automatic guns shows opinions remain unchanged with a slight majority (51 percent) opposing a ban.

 

 

Interestingly, 42% of Americans think banning semi-automatics would be very effective at preventing mass shootings at schools and 21% think it would be somewhat effective. Yet, 51 percent still oppose banning these assault rifles while 44 percent favor. Moreover, Americans rated banning assault rifles fourth out of a list of six reforms Gallup asked about. It’s the middle 21 percent who are still uncertain about the effectiveness of banning assault rifles that hinders support for a ban.

Although the public opposes these gun bans, 58 percent favor stricter gun laws, up from 43 percent in 2011. Americans are evenly divided over whether to pass new gun laws or more strictly enforce existing laws: 46 percent want to enforce existing laws and 47 percent want new laws, up from 35 percent last year. At the same time, a CBS poll found that 50 percent of Americans thought that stricter gun laws would have had “no effect” in preventing the Newtown shooting; 26 percent thought it would have done “a lot” to prevent the tragedy. 

Gallup asked about the efficacy of six potential reforms in efforts to prevent mass shootings. Fifty-three percent of Americans believe increasing the police presence at schools would be very effective at preventing mass shootings at schools. Half think increased government spending on mental health screening and treatment, 47 percent think decreasing media depictions of gun violence, and 42 percent think banning semi-automatics would be very effective at preventing mass shootings. The least popular reforms included a third who thought a school official should carry a gun (34 percent) and that the media should refuse to publish the names of the persons responsible for the shooting (27 percent).

 

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  • Ryan60657||

    Am I the only one who is getting bombarded with pop-up ads here at Reason? It is extremely annoying. For the last time, I don't need or want a reverse mortgage!!

  • sarcasmic||

    Firefox plugins are great. I don't see a single advertisement.

  • ||

    Are you sure you don't want a reverse mortgage?

  • CE||

    I've got Firefox, but I started getting the pop-ups a few weeks ago. Some of them are really annoying, popping up a faux-Windows question box when you try to close them.

  • Rhywun||

    I am not opposed to ads (though I choose to block them) EXCEPT popup ads are pure evil and unacceptable anywhere.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I do get ads telling me 3 people unfriended me on Facebook which I know is not true because everyone loves me.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    I'm one or more of those three.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Just because I might be your dad didn't make us friends to begin with.

  • Ted S.||

    I'm using Opera, and not getting the pop-ups.

  • Rhywun||

    I think all the major browsers have a pop-up blocker built-in now - should be easy for OP to block them.

  • Proprietist||

    ConsumerLifestyles has been the one I've been getting bombarded with. And I have Firefox's popup blocker turned on.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Interestingly, 42% of Americans think banning semi-automatics would be very effective at preventing mass shootings at schools and 21% think it would be somewhat effective. Yet, 51 percent still oppose banning these assault rifles while 44 percent favor.

    I am not surprised by the first numbers as the media have been effectively drumming into our heads the inherent evil of semi-automatic weapons. But the number of Americans who still oppose a ban on them is interesting. Gun nuts or people thinking for themselves?

  • R C Dean||

    Please, Dems. Die on this hill, again. Burn your political capital to a crisp. Lose many, many seats over this issue, again. Pleasepleasepleaseplease.

    I'll be sending an actual paper letter to my Reps and Senators (all Republicans, of course), telling them that if any new gun laws pass, I will donate and work against them and the Republican Party, regardless of how they vote individually.

  • ||

    All the gun stores' shelves are bare. My cousin, who normally doesn't give much of a shit about guns, went to buy one today.

    TEAM BLUE is shooting itself (hah) in the foot again over this. Their stupidity and strange, overwhelming compulsion to constantly keep trying to do this is legion.

    Also, gun grabbers can go fuck themselves. You won't be taking my guns, fuckwads. Fuck you.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Episiarch,

    My cousin, who normally doesn't give much of a shit about guns, went to buy one today.


    Are you in really good terms with your cousin?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    My cousin, who normally doesn't give much of a shit about guns, went to buy one today.

    Is he doing it as an investment? I ran into someone who claimed to be doing that. Which is daft since there are already what, 90+ privately owned guns for every 100 people in the US?

    I mean an AR lower is one thing, but those are already gone.

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    I could see it as an inflation beater. A quality gun probably loses value more slowly than the dollar will.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I would not be shocked to find out dems were getting kickbacks from gun and ammo companies. No group has done more to increase their sales and profits. I do believe that is irony.

  • Hyperion||

    This is Gallup. So I am assuming that 99% of those polled are Dems. And the numbers still not in favor of gun bans?

    Anyway, it doesn't matter to our elected reps what we want, the only thing they fear is losing their comfy jobs. Any meaningful gun legislation could result in a route of the Dems in congress greater than the one in 2010 and also could antagonize a rebellion against DC by a lot of red states.

    Of course, Obama and his minions fear none of that. But not because they are all wise, it's because they are so convinced that they have 'won', that they will never see it coming.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Obama has expanded gun rights twice to date.

    Remember the Fast and Furious nutjobs? Obama is a gun-selling freak!

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Twice? What was the second?

    I know about the natl park thing. That's extremely minor, particularly since it doesn't apply to any enclosed area which has been improved, such as caves with staircases, as the NPS considers them federal buildings.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Amtrak. You can travel with a firearm now (in the hold).

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Wow, two things I'm never going to make use of. Whoopie. Hardly makes up for the mag cap restrictions he's going to be pushing.

    Like I'd trust the Amtrak baggage crackheads with handling my firearm, locked case or otherwise.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Obama won't ban high cap mags. He can't for one (without the House) and doesn't want to.

    Obama is staked in the center politically and won't risk that. Those who hold the center win.

    This team humiliated Romney by five million votes and an easy electoral win. Plouffe and company will back another winner in 2012 (Gillibrand in my opinion).

  • sloopyinca||

    Plouffe and company will back another winner in 2012 (Gillibrand in my opinion).

    What are they gonna do, go back in time and run her for President?

    Haha, you stupid fucking bastard.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Gillibrand? You can't be serious. Isn't she the one who boasted about having two rifles under her bed and a good NRA grade when she was a Representative from upstate NY, and then suddenly transmuted into a gun grabber once she got into the Senate?

  • Proprietist||

    Gillibrand in my opinion

    You may be right. Personally, I think she's terrible and a hypocrite but I can see that she's very similar to Obama policy-wise - left but perceived as moderate (which has obviously won twice) - and a lot more likeable than, say, Hillary or many of the probable Republican offerings. She's also attractive and would be another historic president if she won, so I'd agree she'd be one of the Democrats' strongest candidates.

  • Hyperion||

    Fast and Furious has nothing to do with the 2nd amendment and gun rights.

    Obama has expanded gun rights twice to date.

    Obama did that because he saw it as politically expedient.

    If he sees stomping on gun rights as politically expedient, then that is what he will do.

    Your guy is a opportunist, a shill, a fake, a jackass. When are you going to see that? Never.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Your guy is a opportunist, a shill, a fake, a jackass. When are you going to see that? Never.

    Romney all the way.

    I was puzzled about Romney's constant lying and his Mormon faith. Then I learned that Mormons are taught to lie to outsiders to cover their ridiculous theological past (racism, golden plates, underwear, polygamy, etc).

    http://www.mormonwiki.org/Lying_for_the_Lord

    Romney was nothing but a total human fraud.

  • sloopyinca||

    Wow, you sure burned all of us Romney supporters on here.

    Dumbass.

  • Hyperion||

    Remember, Butthead can't see beyond the team sport. He's a political retard.

  • Proprietist||

    Uh, if I remember correctly, Shrike voted for Johnson.

  • Enyap||

    Hey, atleast Buttplug may have finally moved on from Bush and Palin, to another out of power Republican boogyman.

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    I didn't read a single word past "Romney". That's one more than I should ever read from one of that dipshit's posts.

  • Vogon's Poet||

    Assume much, Nancy?

  • Brendan||

    Once, maybe.

    The national park carry law wouldn't have been necessary had the Obama administration not reversed the rule passed during the Bush administration that allowed it.

  • Ted Levy||

    So in the first question you ask about "hand guns" and in the second you ask about "semi-automatic guns known as assault rifles". The different responses may simply be due to the fact that most people don't understand the vast majority of hand guns are semi-automatic weapons.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Yeah, the wording is all over the place. Another chart shows the question as "assault and semiautomatic guns" (?!) which I'm not sure how to interpret.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Yeah, people don't know shit about guns which is why these polls and public debates are always so freakin' retarded.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Ted Levy,

    The different responses may simply be due to the fact that most people don't understand the vast majority of hand guns are semi-automatic weapons.


    A Democratic "strategist" just told Greg Gutfeld on The Bill O'Reilly Show that she only wants to see the police and armed forces with guns and no one else, after being asked about the wisdom of having "gun free zones."

    So, basically, the left does not care about the distinction - they just want the population disarmed and vulnerable. Period.

  • CE||

    How do any of these preferences matter? The second amendment prohibits any regulations that infringe on gun ownership.

  • R C Dean||

    Which would be relevant, if SCOTUS would enforce the 2A as written.

    In Heller, they told us in no uncertain terms that they would not, amending the 2A de facto to prohibit only unreasonable infringements on the RKBA.

    My copy doesn't say "shall not be unreasonably infringed", but under Heller, the 2A does not prohibit "reasonable" regulations.

  • Hyperion||

    the 2A does not prohibit "reasonable" regulations

    And some sleazy politicians get to decide what is reasonable. Which is why they want your guns, so that you can't stop them from infringing on that right, and all the others as well.

  • Hyperion||

    And also, what happens after Obama appoints 2 more progressive judges to the court?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    You forgot Rule #1 of Reason.

    ROMNEY WOULD HAVE DONE IT TOO!

  • Hyperion||

    No, Romney would have appointed 2 more judges who are supposed to be conservatives who respect the constitution, and at least one of them would have turned out to a Benedict Arnold, AKA John Roberts.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    John Roberts of Heller and Citizens United, you mean?

    Whenever I begin to think maybe you guys have a point about me, I just remember how fixated on the OC decision you guys are, and shake it off.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    So you think the 2nd amendment protects the right of mentally ill people to bear arms?

    I'll be nice and not bring up the 1st amendment's obviously necessary exceptions.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tulpa,

    So you think the 2nd amendment protects the right of mentally ill people to bear arms?


    Do mentally-ill people lose all rights only because you or I decide to deem them "mentally ill"?

    Because I know a lot of people who suffer the real and clinically-recognized ailment called "narcissism," who also hold the more powerful guns. You probably call them "politicians."

  • Hyperion||

    What you are not taking into consideration here is that most politicians in DC do not give a rats arse about the constitution and will continue to shred it to pieces until we put a stop to it.

  • bonesteelwarren||

    Bingo.

    Meaning that any law regulating the private ownership of guns is un-con stitutional, to begin with, no matter what anyone says to the contrary.

    The Bill of Rights doesn'r grant rights. It limits government power and control.

    You can't be granted rights that you alredy possess, just as those rights cannot be infringed, no twhat anyone says.

    The second you've allowed government to limit your own rights, you've submitted, willingly, to tyranny.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Like I give a shit what other people think of my right to own a firearm.

    What the fuck is so goddamn confusing about a person having inalienable rights that's so hard to understand. It means that said rights aren't subject to what other people think.

  • AZ||

    People think they have an inalienable right to prevent you from owning things they're scared of. Also, free ponies. Those are an inalienable right, and fuck anyone who doesn't want to pay for someone else's free pony. So rights are pretty confusing, because of self-centered dipshits.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    unalienable, not inalienable.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Unfortunately, a right is only a right when it's enforced. If the courts and the people decide not to enforce 2nd amendment rights (or any rights for that matter), they may as well not exist.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tulpa,

    Unfortunately, a right is only a right when it's enforced.


    Like gravity is only "gravity" when someone falls to his death. Isn't that right?

    If the courts and the people decide not to enforce 2nd amendment rights (or any rights for that matter), they may as well not exist.


    People still have guns despite prohibitions, just as people do a lot of stuff that's forbidden. As long as people can ACT, people have rights.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Really? The point of the 1st and 2nd amendment rights is to prevent people from being punished for the activities in question when those activities become known to the state. The right is irrelevant in cases where the state never finds out, since you wouldn't have been punished in that case either.

  • waaminn||

    lol, silly laws are for honest folk. Thats too funyn dude.

    www.Anon-et.tk

  • wingnutx||

  • 21044||

    AlmightyJB| 12.28.12 @ 7:28PM |#

    I would not be shocked to find out dems were getting kickbacks from gun and ammo companies.

    Are any of the gun/ammo companies union? If they are union, then the Dems are getting a kick-back.

  • ||

    Some answers here.

    ...Colt, Remington, and Winchester are all union shops.


    That might be a little out of date. IIANM, Winchester has moved all of its manufacturing offshore.

  • bmp1701||

    Colt's line workers certainly are.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Palin's Buttwipe,

    Obama has expanded gun rights twice to date.


    Thus spake the intellectually deficient.

    How can a man expand rights that people already have?

    What you talk about is lifting certain restrictions that trample on those rights, but a man cannot grant what everybody already has - Obama ain't God.

  • sloopyinca||

    Obama ain't God.

    He told us he was.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    Isn't this just more of the American public's consistent cognitive dissonance?

    I mean they say it will help, but don't want it.

    Reminds me of all the polls which say most people think the government should cut spending and become smaller, but when asked about which specific programs to cut - a good percentage of these same people answer "not that one" to every possible cut.

    Should we cut spending? Y
    Cut medicare? N
    Cut military? N
    Cut Welfare? N
    ....

    I don't see any of this getting better until it gets worse. Let's hope we don't become Greece...

  • Paul.||

    51 Percent Oppose Assault Rifle Ban, 58 Percent Favor Stricter Gun Laws

    Or, to make you more depressed: a narrow, narrow majority of people understand what these weapons actually are, and a strong majority of people want to take something away from you.

  • SIV||

    Sounds like I'll eventuallly still be able to buy a Colt AR-15 with a collapsible stock and detachable carry-handle for less than $1k as long as the dollar doesn't collapse. I still prefer Colts to the competition.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    People who have been paying attention would remember what a pathetic failure the "Assault Weapons" ban was. It was in effect when the Columbine shootings took place--it didn't even slow the shooters down. At all. And it had no effect on other crime, either (despite the DoJ's pathetic attempts to "prove" otherwise).

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