Poll Shows Americans Divided Over Gun Control – OpEd
By Jim Kouri
As with most political and social issues facing Americans in the midst of one of the most contentious presidential and congressional election cycles in recent history, the U.S. population is divided over the subject of gun control according to poll results released Friday.
The new national poll reveals that public division remains relatively the same even after two recent news stories regarding mass-shootings continue to serve as grist for the mill of public debate on firearms ownership by civilians.
In the new poll, sponsored by Cable News Network (CNN), 50 percent of the respondents said they favor no restrictions or only minor restrictions on owning firearms, while 48 percent said they support major restrictions or a complete ban on gun ownership by individuals except police and other authorized personnel.
According to CNN, the numbers remain unchanged since the last survey in 2011. In fact, according to CNN-contracted pollsters, the number of respondents supporting major restrictions or a complete ban has remained in the 48-50 percent range for more than a decade.
However, according to gun rights advocates, such as policy-expert John Snyder, “The message is clear. Gun laws do not stop mass murder. Citizens armed with guns do. Guns save lives. As a matter of fact, citizens with guns stop crime two and a half million times a year, according to Professor Gary Kleck, Ph.D. of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida State University in Tallahassee.”
“The word is getting around,” Snyder said. “Anti-gun policies do not stop crime. Decent citizens with guns do. Public and private policies should reflect this.”
There are also different attitudes toward the issue among genders, people with different political inclinations, and people living in different parts of the country as well.
“There are gender and ideological gaps on this issue, with more than six in 10 women and two thirds of self-described liberals supporting major restrictions or a complete ban, compared to just 34 percent of men and 36 percent of self-described conservatives. And major restrictions on guns are more popular in urban areas and in the Northeast than in the rest of the country,” stated a CNN spokesperson in the network’s press statement.
The actual polling was conducted by ORC International for CNN on Tuesday and Wednesday, with a sample of 1,010 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The poll’s overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points, according to ORC and CNN.
In the wake of the Operation Fast and Furious gun-smuggling scandal and Attorney General Eric Holder’s appearance before Congress to discuss the Fast and Furious scandal, the Obama administration appears intent on avoiding any discussion of his plans for disarming American citizens in the name of public safety.
After explaining and defending his decision to give enemy combatants constitutional protections and the right to public trial in civilian courts in New York City, Attorney General Eric Holder revealed his support for a national gun owner registration scheme and authorizing the government to ban firearm possession for any person by merely adding that person’s name to the terror watch list, Law Enforcement Alliance of America’s president Ted Deeds said in a statement.
Drawing reasonable conclusions from what Holder publicly said, Deeds points out that: “Holder wants a national, permanent gun registration system administered by law enforcement. A registration of honest citizens who have cleared the federal background check for gun purchases with those records permanently retained by and shared among law enforcement.
Several federal lawmakers have alleged that the Fast and Furious debacle was more about proving a need for gun restriction in the U.S. than fighting transnational crime gangs.