Majority of Americans Want Stricter Gun Legislation

Majority Of Americans Want Stricter Gun Laws: So Why The Inertia?

So why is Washington seemingly paralyzed to act on gun legislation?

How much longer are our elected officials, or at least those in the pocket of the NRA, going to ignore the wishes of the majority of American voters? And how long will constituents continue to tolerate their representatives not voting according to their wishes?

A new Gallup crime survey released Oct. 19 indicates that more than half of Americans want stricter laws when it comes to gun sales. The latest survey was conducted in the days following the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseberg, Oregon.

The survey was conducted Oct. 7-11, polling 1,015 adults nationwide. The overall margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Polling results show that nationwide, among adults, 55 percent desire stricter regulations. This statistic is up 8 percentage points from 2014. Those who think gun sales laws should remain the same polled at only 33 percent. 11 percent want fewer gun regulations on the books.

The latest results are below the 58 percent who called for more regulation in 2013. That poll was conducted in the aftermath of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December of 2012 where 20 elementary school children and six adults were shot to death.

Gallup poll shows majority of Americans want stricter gun legislation
55 percent of Americans now want stricter gun legislation. Graph: Gallup.

More gun owners want stricter gun legislation (30 percent in 2014 to 36 percent this year.) Those who do not own guns would also like to see more sensible gun sales regulations; 57 percent in 2014 to 64 percent in 2015.

The Gallup poll also indicates:

The rise in the proportion of Americans who want stricter laws on firearm sales can be attributed partly to an increase among certain demographic groups. Support rose among Democrats and especially independents from 2014, and among those who do not personally own a gun. However, support increased even among those who say they own a handgun, from 30% in 2014 to 36% this year.

Interestingly, Republicans who express a desire for tougher gun laws decreased in the last year; 29 percent in 2014 to 27 percent in 2015.

Gallup poll reveals the percentage of Republicans who favor stricter gun legislation have declined.
Interestingly, the percent of Republicans who want stricter gun legislation has declined slightly. Image: Gallup.

Only 27 percent polled support a complete on ban handguns for everyone but law enforcement; while 72 percent indicated that there should not be a ban. Over the last 50 years, support of this issue has remained low.

WIth the rampancy of mass shootings, negligent shooting, and individual homicides, the U.S. will continue to debate whether restrictions or amendments regarding firearm purchases and possession should be put into place. Recently, California’s Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom plans to introduce a state ballot measure for 2016 that would require ammunition buyers to undergo background checks. President Barack Obama also said he may use executive authority to impose background checks for those purchasing weapons from high-volume firearms dealers.

Regardless of your individual beliefs regarding guns and regulation, in 2015, firearms are an element in much of our political discourse as well as in the fabric of the American life. 43 percent of Americans say that they have a gun somewhere in their home, while 28 percent say that they personally own a gun.

This is not an problem that will be solved quickly or simply. It is also going to take all parties coming to some sort of common ground. On a one year average, more than 100,000 Americans are shot in murders, assaults, suicides and suicide attempt, gun negligence, and police shootings.  More than 18,000 children are shot every year, with the death toll around 3,000. On average, 31,537 Americans die annually from guns.

As reported in Forbes  in 2014, more young people died from guns than cars, according to a Center for American Progress report from 2014 that looked specifically at the mounting burden of gun deaths among young Americans.

chart showing the number of annual motor vehicle deaths dipping below the number of annual gun deaths among people under age 26.
Still think we don’t need stricter gun legislation? We now have more annual gun deaths among people under age 26 than motor vehicle deaths.

How much longer are we, as a civilized nation, going to endure these preventable and tragic deaths?

(H/T: GallupForbes        Featured Image: Flickr)


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