Voters less likely to support ‘stricter gun control laws’

800px-Houston_Gun_Show_at_the_George_R._Brown_Convention_Center

Houston gun show at the George R. Brown Convention Center. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

With the 2016 presidential election a year away, campaigns are heating up and guns are on the front burner.

When it comes to talk about regulations surrounding the topic, most Americans shy away from talk of controlling guns, a new Quinnipiac University poll found.   

Quinnipiac University Poll on gun controlVoters were less likely to support “stricter gun control laws” than they were “stricter gun laws.” The Connecticut-based university took two groups of people and asked each one of the two questions.

When asked whether they supported “stricter gun control laws,” 51 percent of respondents in the first group said no. Fifty-two percent of those in the second group said they did support “stricter gun laws.”

Republicans overwhelmingly oppose both options and Democrats support both by wide margins as well, the poll found. Independents responded similarly to all voters, by opposing stricter gun control laws, but supporting stricter gun laws.   

“American voters just don’t like the term ‘gun control,’ but they believe overwhelmingly there should be background checks,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

A majority of voters – 93 percent – support requiring background checks for all gun purchases and a majority of legal gun owners – 92 percent – do too. Universal background checks have been popular in every Quinnipiac University poll since February 2013, with between 88-93 percent of respondents in support for each.

Fifty-nine percent of respondents believe new gun laws can be made without infringing on gun rights. Some 48 percent of Republicans disagree with that statement, while every other political, social and economic demographic said new gun laws wouldn’t interfere with gun rights.

Only 20 percent of voters said they’d vote for a presidential candidate if the person was endorsed by a gun rights group, 23 percent said less likely and 56 percent said it wouldn’t affect how they voted.   

“And about the axiom that more people packing makes the country a safer place. Not the case, voters say by a small margin,” Malloy said.      

Forty-nine percent said the U.S. would be less safe, while 41 percent said it would be safer, according to the poll.