A recent poll revealed a majority of those surveyed believe the congressional baseball shooting “will have no impact” on how people talk about politics.
In fact, 79 percent of respondents said “the way people talk about politics” contributes to violence, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation characterized the June 14 shooting at a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia, as an unplanned attack on Republican congressman perpetrated by a disgruntled, homeless Illinois man who volunteered for Sen. Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign last year and despised President Trump.
The gunman — who died after a shootout with law enforcement — also reportedly carried a list of Republican lawmakers in his pocket, though the FBI stopped short of calling it a “hit list.” The two guns recovered at the scene, a 7.62mm rifle and a 9mm handgun, were bought legally.
Of the 1,212 registered voters surveyed by Quinnipiac, 54 percent support “stricter gun laws,” including 80 percent of Democrats and 54 percent of Independents. Just 27 percent of registered Republicans agreed.
Mandating background checks for all gun buyers received near-unanimous support from all parties: 93 percent of Republicans, 98 percent of Democrats, 95 percent of Independents and 94 percent of respondents overall approved of the idea.
A little over half of those surveyed said it’s too easy to buy a gun, while 57 percent said more people in possession of guns would make the country less safe. Despite this, gun retailers and industry insiders insist the buying trend skews toward self-defense as mass shootings, terrorist attacks and fluctuating crime rates prompt would-be gun owners into action.
During a 2013 survey, Gallup reported 60 percent of gun owners said they keep a weapon for “personal safety or protection.” The analysts said past surveys also indicate Americans “tend to believe” a gun in the home or carrying concealed weapons “would do more to keep people safe than to put them at risk of harm.”
The analysts behind a different Gallup poll released in December, however, struggle to explain the link between crime victimization and gun ownership while studying 16 years of survey results.
Larry Pratt, executive director emeritus of Gun Owners of America, told CNN in May he agrees with the notion that more guns make people safer and said mass shootings may be the final straw for those “predisposed” to arming themselves for self-defense.
“When something like that happens and it’s vividly covered in the media, then that may prompt them to finally take action,” he said. “A really good response time … is about four to five minutes. … And a lot of the horrific shootings have taken a lot of lives well within that time.”