Guns

Poll: Majority Of Americans Support Assault Weapons Ban

| by Robert Fowler
An AR-15 rifleAn AR-15 rifle

New polling shows that Americans have shifted their opinion in favor of an assault weapons ban. In the wake of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, a majority now want to see assault weapons taken off the market.

On June 15, CBS News released new survey results that found that 57 percent of Americans now favor an assault weapons ban while only 38 percent oppose the measure.

That is a dramatic shift from a previous CBS News poll conducted in December 2015 which found that only 44 percent were in support of a ban while 50 percent were opposed.

The survey results show a partisan divide over the issue of assault firearms; while Democrats were overwhelmingly in favor of a ban, Republicans were decidedly mixed.

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Seventy-eight percent of self-identifying Democrats said they want legislation to ban the sale of assault weapons with only 18 percent in opposition. Meanwhile, 45 percent of Republicans were also in favor of a ban while 50 percent were opposed.

A slight plurality of Independents appear to agree with Democratic respondents, with 47 percent in support of a ban and 45 percent against it.

The survey also explored how respondents feel about stricter gun laws. Fifty-seven percent supported stricter regulations on purchasing a firearm while 11 percent wanted even less regulation. Roughly 30 percent of respondents said they believe the current regulations should remain untouched.

One issue where Americans appear to have an overwhelming consensus is universal background checks, with 89 percent in support. Ninety-seven percent of Democrats were in favor along with 92 percent of Republicans while 82 percent of Independents were also on board.

Lastly, 82 percent of self-identifying gun owners also were in favor of universal background checks.

The prospect of an assault weapons ban intensified after 29-year-old Omar Mateen, armed with a handgun and an AR-15 style rifle, shot and killed 49 people at an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

The U.S. had an assault weapons ban in place for 10 years, Congress passing the prohibition in 1994 and then allowing it to lapse in 2004.

The presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, whose spouse former President Bill Clinton had signed the original assault weapons ban into law, has called for the prohibition to be reinstated.

“We can’t fall into the trap that is set up by the gun lobby that says if you can’t stop every shooting in every incident should not try to stop any,” Clinton told CNN. “We did have an assault weapons ban for 10 years. I think it should be reinstated.”

One June 14, President Barack Obama also called for an assault weapons ban during a counterterrorism speech at the U.S. Treasury Department, ABC News reports.

“Reinstate the assault weapons ban,” Obama said. “Make it harder for terrorists to use these weapons to kill us. Otherwise, despite extraordinary efforts, despite all the sacrifices that folks make, these kinds of events are going to keep on happening. And the weapons are only going to get more powerful.”

Sources: ABC NewsCBS News, CNN / Photo Credit: Robert Freiberger/Flickr

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