Large majority of Americans—including gun owners—support stronger gun policies

A large majority of Americans—including gun owners—continue to support stronger policies to prevent gun violence than are present in current federal and most state law, according to a new national public opinion survey conducted by researchers with the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The is a follow-up to one conducted by the same researchers in early 2013, shortly after the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut that left 26 dead.

The results are published online in Preventive Medicine.

"Two years after the tragedy in Newtown, our study of public support for two dozen specific policies found a large majority of Americans continue to favor a range of gun-safety policies," says lead study author Colleen Barry, PhD, MPP, an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "Support was strongest - with little difference between gun-owners and non-owners - for universal , barring people with temporary restraining orders for domestic violence from having guns and stronger regulations of licensed gun dealers."

Support for requiring background checks for all remained high, with 85 percent of gun owners and 83 percent of non-owners favoring the policy. In the 2013 survey, 84 percent of gun owners and 90 percent of non-owners supported background checks for all gun sales. Support for banning assault weapons among all respondents decreased from 69 percent in 2013 to 63 percent in 2015, and support for banning the sale of large capacity ammunition magazines decreased from 68 percent to 60 percent. Notably, the small erosion in support for these policies occurred almost entirely among non-gun-owners.

The 2015 national survey was conducted two years from the date the 2013 survey was fielded, and used the same sampling approach and survey research firm, GfK. The latest survey included 1,326 respondents, while 2013 survey included 2,703 participants.

More than 11,000 people in the United States are killed each year as a result of gun homicides, and the firearm homicide rate in the U.S. is seven times higher than in the average high-income country.

"The extraordinarily high rate of in the U.S. is due in large part to weaknesses in our standards for legal gun ownership and laws to hold individuals accountable if they put guns into the wrong hands," says study author Daniel Webster, ScD, MPH, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research. "Yet when we poll Americans, we see strong support even among gun owners for stricter standards and increased accountability."

In the 2015 survey, the majority of gun owners surveyed support prohibiting a person convicted of a serious crime as a juvenile from having a gun for 10 years (73 percent), prohibiting people who have been convicted of public display of gun in a threatening manner excluding self-defense from having a gun for 10 years (75 percent), and prohibiting people convicted of domestic violence from having a gun for 10 years (76 percent).

Similarly, the majority of gun owners (67 percent) also support allowing cities to sue licensed gun dealers when the gun dealer's sales practices allow criminals to obtain guns and requiring a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison for a person convicted of knowingly selling a gun to someone who cannot legally have one (71 percent).

"All too often, pollsters ask Americans whether they support more or less , or frame gun policies as controls on gun ownership generally rather than as measures to keep guns from criminals or other high-risk groups," Barry says. "When you drill down to specific policies, you see that Americans are very much in of common-sense regulations to keep their families and communities safe from gun violence."


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More information: "Two years after Newtown—public opinion on gun policy revisited" Preventive Medicine, 2015.
Journal information: Preventive Medicine

Citation: Large majority of Americans—including gun owners—support stronger gun policies (2015, June 3) retrieved 20 October 2019 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2015-06-large-majority-americansincluding-gun-ownerssupport.html
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User comments

Jun 03, 2015
I performed an experiment once. I took my guns, both hand guns and long guns, and I laid them out on the living room coffee table and then I waited. From articles such as this one I fully expected my guns to go on a crime spree, murdering blacks in the inner city, breaking into the homes of elderly whites and robbing and murdering them, spraying bullets into the houses of gang members' families, sticking up convenience stores. But nothing happened. Not a single one of my guns committed any crime whatsoever. I just don't understand it. They acted like nothing more than inanimate objects, like tools, with no ability to do anything in and of themselves. I'm mystified.

Jun 03, 2015
much like medicalXpress's vaccine articles, this one is filled with half truths and outright lies. Pushing anti-freedom agendas all day long should be its tagline.

Jun 03, 2015
The Pew survey people report that support for gun control is at 46%...and dropping. Jan.9th,2015.
I question the accuracy of this article.

Jun 03, 2015
Ms Barry is correct. The phrasing of the question is everything. Mr. Webster's study involved a much more vague approach to obtain what borders on fraudulent results... If the question is "do you support stricter measures to keep guns out of the hands of criminals?" then the response is almost universally "YES"... If you ask "Do you support a National Gun registration?" The majority answer is apparently "NO"... Polls are mostly geared to get the answer the polsters are paid to already know to be true...Helpful when you're trying to prove a point for your (**-insert-**)- (Cause- lobby- boss- candidate- product)

Jun 03, 2015
I enjoy the medical articles published on this site, but the editors here need to know that ANY poll conducted with Bloomberg is flawed, one sided, and bordering on outright lies. Bloomberg and his anti-gun crazed groups have been caught in enough lies to discredit them for the remainder of time itself. Please never site them again.

Jun 07, 2015
I performed an experiment once. I took my guns, both hand guns and long guns, and I laid them out on the living room coffee table and then I waited. From articles such as this one I fully expected my guns to go on a crime spree, murdering blacks in the inner city, breaking into the homes of elderly whites and robbing and murdering them, spraying bullets into the houses of gang members' families, sticking up convenience stores. But nothing happened.


I did the same experiment last night, but I left them on the table by the window with the curtains open. In the morning, the glass was broken and my guns had indeed been found committing a robbery.

Go figure.

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