March 13, 2013
3/13: Americans Divide about Guns, But…
McClatchy/Marist National Poll
The renewed debate about gun violence in the United States has fostered little consensus among Americans. Where do Americans stand on the issue? They divide. 49% of adults nationally think it is more important to control gun violence while 48% believe the priority should be to protect gun rights. Three percent are unsure. Not surprisingly, 70% of gun owners say it is more important to protect gun rights. Although, 28% of these residents report controlling gun violence is the priority. Two percent are unsure.
Registered voters’ views reflect those of Americans, overall. 49% of voters nationally say controlling gun violence is key while 49% report gun rights should take precedence. Two percent are unsure.
- There is a partisan divide. More than three in four Democrats — 77% — want the priority to be controlling gun violence while 22% say protecting gun rights is the most important dimension of the issue. One percent is unsure.
- Among Republicans, 74% believe gun rights must be protected while 23% think controlling gun violence is the top priority. Two percent are unsure.
- Independent voters are more likely to align with Republicans on this question. 54% of these voters report protecting gun rights is more important. 43% believe controlling gun violence is the key, and 3% are unsure.
When it comes to specific proposals, many Americans support stricter gun regulations:
- 84% of Americans favor background checks for private gun sales and sales at gun shows. 15% oppose the idea, and 2% are unsure. Even 81% of gun owners nationally support such a measure. Registered voters mirror the overall population. Regardless of political party, more than eight in ten favor background checks.
- A majority of Americans — 55% — favor a ban on assault weapons. 41% oppose such a ban, and 3% are unsure. A majority of gun owners — 55% — are against such a measure. On this question, registered voters also reflect the views of Americans, overall. There are partisan differences. 70% of Democrats and 54% of independents support a ban on assault weapons while a slim majority of Republicans — 51% — oppose it.
- When it comes to banning ammunition clips that hold more than ten bullets, 52% of adults nationally favor the measure. 45% oppose it, and 3% are unsure. Looking at gun owners in the United States, nearly six in ten — 59% — are against the proposal. Again, registered voters are in line with Americans, in general. When it comes to party, 71% of Democrats favor such a measure. However, a majority of Republicans — 56% — and 51% of independents oppose banning clips with more than ten bullets.
- Overwhelmingly, Americans — 78% — oppose reducing regulations on gun purchases to make it easier to buy and own a gun. 19% favor this action, and 3% are unsure. Even 70% of gun owners nationally oppose this idea. Here, too, registered voters reflect the views of Americans as a whole. Regardless of party, more than seven in ten voters are against easing regulations to purchase a gun.