A majority of voters said that stricter gun laws would not have prevented the mass shooting at a Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. a few weeks ago, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released on Wednesday.
The survey, which contacted 1,497 registered voters by telephone between Sept. 23-29, found that 61 percent of respondents did not believe that tougher gun control laws would have stopped gunman Aaron Alexis from attacking the headquarters of the Naval Sea Systems Command on Sept. 16.
Alexis killed 12 and wounded 3 in the shooting before he was gunned down by police.
Two days before the shooting, Alexis purchased a Remington 870 shotgun at Sharpshooters Small Arms Range in Lorton, Virginia.
Despite a couple minor brushes with the law and struggles with mental illness, he passed both state and federal background checks when purchasing the gun. The reason? He was never adjudicated “mentally defective” nor was he a convicted felon, both of which disqualify one from buying or possessing a firearm.
Yet, 32 percent of respondents believe that tougher gun laws could have prevented the Navy Yard tragedy.
On the topic of gun control, the poll found that generally the public is in favor of tighter gun laws 54 to 41 percent. However, in households with guns, that percentage is inverted 56 percent opposed to 40 percent in favor.
Background checks for all gun purchases received overwhelming support, with 89 percent to 9 percent in favor of them. That number remained virtually unchanged in households with guns, where 88 percent favored background checks for all gun purchases compared with 11 percent that opposed them.
“Americans somewhat favor more gun control but more than three in five say stricter gun control would not have stopped the Washington Navy Yard shooter,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
In addition to addressing the Navy Yard Shooting, the Quinnipiac poll asked voters about java giant Starbucks’ decision to ask gun owners to not carry firearms into store locations any longer.
Two-thirds of voters supported the no-gun request compared with 23 percent that opposed it. The question was asked whether it would make respondents more likely, less likely or no difference in where they get their coffee.
Fifteen percent said they were more likely to get coffee at Starbucks, 11 percent said less likely and 72 percent said it wouldn’t make a difference.
“Two-thirds of voters prefer their Starbucks coffee without a shot as they back the coffee- seller’s plea to keep guns out of the store,” noted Brown.
Would tougher gun laws have prevented the Navy Yard shooting? Do you support background checks for all gun purchases? Do you support Starbucks’ no-guns request? What are your thoughts?