The results of the three polls were released this week and they all basically said the same thing: general public support for gun control is waning and support for gun control amongst gun owners and gun dealers is virtually nonexistent.
The CNN/ORC International survey, which polled 1,021 Americans via telephone, March 15-17, found that support for tougher gun laws has fallen to just 43 percent, a significant drop from where it was in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, CT.
“Support for stricter gun control has fallen dramatically among two groups – older Americans and people who live in rural areas,” said Polling Director Keating Holland.
“In the immediate aftermath of the shootings in Connecticut, the number of rural Americans who supported major gun restrictions rose to 49 percent but now that support has dropped 22 points. Support for stricter gun laws dropped 16 points among Americans over 50 years old in that same time,” he added.
The entire breakdown of the poll showed that 17 percent of respondents believe that there should be “no restrictions” on owning firearms, 38 percent only support “minor restrictions” for a total of 55 percent that – for all intents and purposes – are pro-gun, which is a nine point bump since December tragedy.
On the flip side, only 31 percent of respondents would like to see “major restrictions” on gun ownership with an additional 12 percent that believe all guns should be illegal except for police and authorized personnel, a total of 43 percent pro-gun control/anti-gun.
In a National Shooting Sports Foundation online survey, which polled 640 federal licensed firearms retailers (FFLs) nationwide on March 18, 2013, the consensus amongst gun dealers was overwhelmingly clear: we oppose universal background checks.
According to the results, 85.7 percent of gun dealers oppose UBCs. When asked whether requiring background checks on all gun sales, even those private transactions, made between hobbyists and collectors, would stop criminals from obtaining firearms, 95.7 percent answered “no.”
Additionally, gun dealers voiced concern over the possibility that UBCs would result in tougher ATF regulations, a higher risk of license revocations for record-keeping errors, more delays in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), low government-set fees that will not cover the costs of facilitating a private transaction and increased liability if a private deal goes bad.
“The concept of universal background checks sounds appealing on the surface, but the details involved in what actually would be required on the part of firearms retailers to make it work are quite another matter,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel.
“In fact, the obligations and burdens that would be put in place could be overwhelming for many of those who would be called upon to carry them out,” he continued. “It is unfair to call upon private companies, many of them quite small and with limited personnel, to conduct what essentially would be a function of government.”
The last survey, one conducted by the Illinois State Rifle Association that polled approximately 4,500 individuals over a two day period this month, looked specifically at how gun owners felt about new gun control measures being proposed across the country.
According the results, 99 percent of respondents opposed banning the AR-15. Likewise, there was near unanimity for bans on other modern sporting rifles and semiautomatic rifles, pistols and shotguns.
Here are some of the other important findings:
Proposed regulation of ammunition also failed to garner support among those surveyed. A full 99% of respondents oppose limits on how much ammunition a person could buy. Similar numbers oppose registration of ammunition purchases, microstamping of cartridges, and ammunition taxes to pay for crime victim medical bills. Contrary to what is reported in the media, 98% of gun owners surveyed oppose limits on the capacity of rifle, pistol and shotgun magazines.
Background checks were also unpopular with those surveyed. Results show that two-thirds of respondents oppose background checks on private gun sales – even if the government was required to destroy all records of the background checks.
“We’ve been a bit skeptical of the reports in the media claiming that firearm owners support gun control,” said ISRA Executive Director Richard Pearson in a press release.
“Although our poll was not strictly scientific, it tends to support what we know intuitively,” Pearson continued. “That being that firearm owners stand strongly by the 2nd Amendment while eschewing gun bans, licensing and registration. We are happy with the overall results of the survey.”
However, there was one troubling part of the survey, according to Pearson.
“We did find it unsettling however that about 75% of respondents say they feel less welcome in the United States than they did 5 years ago. Sad, but given the current political climate, those feelings are understandable.”
What are your thoughts about these poll results? Do you find them to be accurate? Is the tide shifting to favor gun rights? Has it really always been?
Here’s what the other side is saying: