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As NRA Convention Begins, Poll Says Voters Oppose Public Guns

CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- Voters don’t want more loaded guns in public places, either carried openly or concealed, and they’re less likely to vote for a candidate for office who pushes for such policies, according to a poll of registered voters conducted for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence by highly regarded polling firm Lake Research Partners.

As the National Rifle Association and conservative politicians like Sarah Palin gather in Charlotte with an agenda promoting guns in bars, parks, on college campuses and in coffee houses, Brady Center President Paul Helmke joined with advocates from North Carolinians Against Gun Violence to share further results of a poll that showed people feel less safe when people carry loaded guns in public, either openly or concealed.

“The NRA’s leadership, and candidates for office who follow their dictates, are out of touch with the American people when it comes to guns in public places,” Helmke said.  “People want common-sense - not extreme - policies with regard to guns, and for most Americans this means stopping the NRA’s efforts to have more people carrying loaded guns in more public places.”

“We found strong negative reactions to more guns in public - both carried openly and concealed - among many key voting blocks, and stronger-than expected concerns about some of these policies among gun owners,” said Celinda Lake, President of Lake Research Partners. 

Among the findings of the poll of 600 registered voters:

·     A majority of voters (51 percent) would be less likely to

support a candidate who makes it easier for more people to carry guns openly in public, while just 27 percent would be more likely to support that candidate.  And 63 percent of women are less likely to vote for such a candidate.

·     Fifty-two percent of all voters oppose allowing loaded guns

carried openly in public, and 61 percent of women oppose open carry of loaded guns in public. 

·     A solid majority - 56 percent - oppose allowing people to carry

concealed weapons in public, including 69 percent of women.

·     Fifty-seven percent feel less safe knowing people can carry

loaded concealed guns in public, with 39 percent feeling strongly about that.

The strong concern about concealed weapons should worry the NRA and the candidates who follow their lead.  Last year, the NRA aggressively pushed legislation in the U.S. Senate that would have stripped virtually every state of the authority to prohibit out-of-state residents from carrying concealed handguns within its borders.  The so-called Thune Amendment (named for Senator John Thune, R-ND) was defeated, but the NRA and Senator Thune have pledged to bring it back.  In addition, the NRA this year pushed legislation in states like Virginia, Arizona and Tennessee to allow concealed weapons permit holders to take guns into bars.

Yesterday, the Brady Center released data showing that a solid plurality of gun owners, as well as a majority of Americans and a strong majority of women - think the Starbucks Coffee Company should change its new policy allowing guns into its stores.  On Wednesday, the Brady Center issued overall numbers showing public opposition to open carry.

The polling data is available at:


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