Thursday, December 20, 2012

The public favors gun restrictions

Posted By on Thu, Dec 20, 2012 at 10:48 AM

Public Policy Polling has released a batch of poll findings that show strong support for stricter gun regulation, including restrictions on military-style semi-automatic rifles with high-capacity magazines.

As I said last night, you can see why lame duck U.S. Rep. Mike Ross, a notorious gun lobby apologist throughout his public career, has suddenly decided that he might back restrictions on high-capacity assault weapons. (Does he have a tip that his friends at the NRA might be leaning that way? If so, best check proposals very carefully for the loopholes that were exploited the last time the U.S. Congress tried to go down this path.)

The poll was done for Daily Kos. PPP and Kos are from the liberal side of the aisle, but PPP's automated polling was among the best in the recent election cycle. And other polls have produced similar numbers, as Ross' rebirth as a gun control advocate should indicate.

A big majority supports a mental health exam for gun purchasers; a ban on assault weapons; a ban on Internt gun and ammo sales; closing the "gun show loophole," or exemption of private sales from criminal background checks; banning high-capacity magazines. Those surveyed are highly supportive of hunting, but don't think assault weapons are necessary for sport.

The sample split 48-32 in favor of the proposition that stronger rules might reduce gun violence. I'm not sure about that either. But I am sure the lack of certainty is no reason not to have stronger rules. The sample split 39-40 on whether guns are a necessary check on government tyranny, though Republicans in the sample said yes 51-28.

The NRA, due to respond Friday, has a lot of lobbying to do. And count on this: there are plenty, like Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who don't intend to give in to a scintilla of new controls.

While we're on the topic, you might find interesting the history and killing power of the weapon used in Connecticut.

UPDATE: Pew polls the subject and finds numbers somewhat less strong than PPP's, but still generally supportive of regulation. (Majority support for high-capacity ammo; 44-49 on ban of assault weapons.)

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