A new Reason-Rupe poll found that more than half of the respondents (52 percent) believe politicians are exploiting the Sandy Hook tragedy, and that more than half also believe eligible citizens should be allowed to own so-called “assault rifles.” The Reason-Rupe national telephone poll of 1,000 Americans was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates.
This and other recent similar polls also found that the majority of teens and young adults surveyed also believe that Americans should be allowed to own “assault rifles.”
The Reason-Rupe poll found 52 percent of Americans believe elected officials are exploiting the tragedy for political gain, while only 41 percent feel elected officials are acting responsibly. Seventy-one percent of Republicans and 60 percent of independents think the tragedy is being politicized, while just 32 percent of Democrats believe so.
Fifty-one percent of Americans believe people “should be allowed to own assault weapons,” while 44 percent said citizens “should be prohibited from owning assault weapons.” Of the poll’s respondents, 68 percent of Republicans and 57 percent of independents said assault weapons should be allowed, while only 33 percent of Democrats agreed. Seventy percent of 18-to-24 year-olds, and 58 percent of 25-to-34 year-olds said “assault weapons should be allowed.”
“Young Americans ages 18-24 are more supportive of private ownership of assault weapons with 70 percent saying Americans should be allowed to own assault weapons; 27 percent think they should be prohibited,” the Reason-Rupe poll said. “In fact, majorities support allowing Americans to own assault weapons among those under 54.”
The latter findings tend to be in line with another recent survey of 2,100 high-school students and 2,100 college students conducted by American University. Thirty-two percent of high-schoolers and 43 percent of college students said they plan on having a gun in their own home as an adult. Twenty-eight percent of high-schoolers and 17 percent of college students said they’d “maybe” have a gun in their homes as adults.
“I was surprised that more college students said they plan on owning a gun than had one in their households,” study researcher Richard Fox, a political scientist at Loyola Marymount University, told LiveScience.
“In contrast,” the Reason-Rupe poll said, “older Americans believe assault weapons should be prohibited by a 3-point margin: 58 percent to 36 percent.”
“Americans more familiar with firearms,” however, the poll found, “are … more likely to oppose prohibiting private ownership of assault weapons. For instance, 56 percent of Americans who say they personally have a firearm support private ownership. Support increases to 79 percent among Americans who both they and another member of their household own a firearm. In contrast, among households who do not own firearms, 55 percent believe assault weapons should be prohibited.
In the Reason-Rupe poll, 27 percent of Americans said a federal assault weapons ban would have helped prevent the Sandy Hook tragedy. A whopping 67 percent, though, said the ban would not have helped prevent the shootings.
Similarly, an unscientific poll by Homeland Security Today of its online readers found 50 percent of respondents do not believe that a ban on specific types of semi-automatic long guns, handguns and high capacity magazines will substantively prevent gun-related violence. Forty-nine percent said they believe such a ban will prevent mass shootings.
Meanwhile, 88 percent responding to the separate poll that asked whether there has been enough preparedness, training and education to deal with “active shooters.” Only 11 percent said they believed there’s been enough preparedness, training and education.
Asked “how likely is it that there will be sweeping legislation passed restricting the sale of .223 caliber long guns, certain handguns and high capacity magazines,” 45 percent said “not likely at all. Twenty-five percent and 22 percent respectively said they believe such a ban is “likely” or “possible.”