Updated: HPU poll reflects gun control split

Feb. 28, 2013 @ 01:14 PM

The results of a gun control poll of North Carolinians released Thursday by High Point University reflect the national split in public sentiment on the issue, and perhaps even amplify how people are of two minds about the role of firearms in society.

One result of the poll is in line with public support for the Second Amendment and the belief in the deterrent value of firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens. The HPU Survey Research Center poll finds that a majority — 60 percent — of state residents say that more law-abiding people having firearms would reduce violent crime more than banning guns.
But other aspects of the responses show people lean toward some acceptance of gun control measures in the wake of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., in December. The poll was taken from Feb. 17–21.
“Large majorities also supported a range of other proposals to reduce gun violence, including banning high capacity ammunition clips and assault style weapons,” according to the university’s poll. “They also support expanding criminal background checks for gun buyers, improved enforcement of existing laws and providing services for mentally ill people who show violent tendencies.”
When asked which proposals would most prevent mass shootings, the top two proposals were requiring criminal background checks for all fireamrs sales and providing services for mentally ill people who show violent tendencies.
“The lessons in this data are clear: North Carolinians believe guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens can deter crime, but they are also willing to consider a number of different proposals to stop gun violence,” says HPU Poll director Martin Kifer, also a member of the political science faculty at the university.
Kifer told The High Point Enterprise that he wasn’t surprised by the results of the gun control survey.
“It’s something that we know about the way that Americans and North Carolinians think about guns and the right to own guns,” he said. “If you look at other surveys, most people say there is an individual right to bear arms and you can have them for protection. But just like with all kinds of rights, they also might see situations in which you can put restrictions on them.”

pjohnson@hpe.com | 888-3528

 

For a complete look at the High Point University Survey Research Center poll on gun control, check the website http://src.highpoint.edu/

 

The latest HPU Poll finds that a majority – 60 percent – of North Carolinians say that more law-abiding people having guns would lead to less violent crime than banning guns.

However, large majorities also supported a range of other proposals to reduce gun violence, including banning high capacity ammunition clips and assault style weapons. They also support expanding criminal background checks for gun buyers, improved enforcement of existing laws and providing services for mentally ill people who show violent tendencies.

The HPU Poll asked North Carolinians about a list of possible approaches to reducing gun violence. Ninety-one percent supported requiring criminal background checks on all gun buyers, including those buying at gun shows and through private sales. Ninety percent supported providing services for mentally ill people who show violent tendencies. And 85 percent supported improving enforcement of existing gun laws.

Majorities also supported banning high capacity ammunition clips, assault style weapons and the sale of ammunition online. Exactly 50 percent favored reducing access to violent movies and video games, while 43 percent did not.

When asked which of these proposals would be the most important thing that could be done to prevent mass shootings from occurring, the top two proposals were requiring criminal background checks for all sales and providing services for mentally ill people who show violent tendencies. Both were favored by 26 percent of respondents. 

“The lessons in this data are clear: North Carolinians believe guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens can deter crime, but they are also willing to consider a number of different proposals to stop gun violence,” says HPU Poll director Martin Kifer, a political science faculty member at HPU.