In the aftermath of the murders at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newton, Connecticut, Gallup has found that the number of Americans open to greater restrictions on guns has taken an upswing going from 25 percent in support of tighter restrictions to 38 percent. Despite this, Americans are not keen on ending their Second Amendment rights. Despite this, Gallup also found that Americans are not keen on ending their Second Amendment rights.
Each year Gallup conducts its Mood of the Nation survey which contains one question on gun control asking if respondents are satisfied or dissatisfied with the nation’s laws or policies on guns. If the respondent answers in the affirmative, a follow up question is asked. The respondent is asked if laws are too strict, not strict enough, or should remain the same.
After nearly ten years showing little change in the national mood on gun laws, Gallup found a 13 point rise in those wanting harsher restrictions with 38 percent of respondents saying they are dissatisfied and want stricter gun laws. Only five percent said they were dissatisfied but want fewer restrictions.
The poll also found that 68 percent of Democrats want gun laws to be more strict while only 18 percent of Republican respondents want tougher restrictions.
Despite these results, Gallup has also found that Americans are generally supportive of the Second Amendment and do not want to lose their right to self-protection. A poll at the end of December, for instance, found that 74 percent of respondents are against handgun bans.
Further, opponents of banning so-called “assault rifles” still slightly out number banners. 51 percent oppose banning “assault weapons” while only 44% are for such a ban.
With the full court press that the Old Media establishment and the Obama administration has dedicated to pushing gun bans and stricter gun laws, the uptick in numbers has been perhaps less than one might expect. With the heavy anti-gun push in full swing, these results show that even with heavy media pressure most Americans still support their Second Amendment rights.
One question on this particular polls looms, however. Since gun laws are essentially a state issue, one has to wonder how Americans would feel about the gun laws in their own states? Since every state but one (Illinois) now has voter supported concealed carry laws, one has to wonder if Americans feel the gun laws in their own states need to be strengthened? It’s one thing to ask a question generalized to “the nation” but quite another to ask Americans if they favor actual restrictions right at home.
This reservation about Gallup’s results can be likened to the question of the likeability of Congress. Few Americans have a very high opinion of Congress as a body. But when asked about their own congressman they have a much higher opinion often by many magnitudes.
Would real-life gun restrictions that hit Americans at home find similar percentages as Gallup’s generalized polling? We will never know unless these questions are broken down by state.