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Poll: Gun Control Not A Top Issue For Most Americans

A poll from USA Today and Suffolk University says most Americans don't consider gun control one of the nation's top issues. 

Of the 1,000 American adults polled by landline or cellphone, 52 percent said they do not want gun control to be a significant subject during the 2016 presidential election. Only 43 percent of Americans want to debate the issue.

The poll found that 70 percent of black Americans who responded desire to see the issue raised, but only 37 percent of white respondents did. The poll’s finding reflects the results gained from a recent study on guns that was aimed to see how many Americans owned them and who they are. The study found that nearly 1 in 3 Americans owns guns, but most likely to own a gun were white males over the age of 55, Reuters reported.

The poll was conducted just days after the June 17 mass shooting at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, and touched on issues at the heart of the case. Dylann Roof is accused of killing nine people with a firearm and can be seen holding a Confederate flag in photos online, reports The New York Times.

A majority of Americans, 56 percent, said tighter gun laws would not prevent mass shootings, though a larger majority, 76 percent, said increased access to guns would also not prevent mass shootings. The inverse is that nearly one-quarter of Americans believes that more gun access leads to fewer deaths.

“There is almost a thread of thinking running through the poll that nothing can be done to make any meaningful changes,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. In the poll, 53 percent of respondents said the chance of Congress taking action on guns is "poor," USA Today reports.

On the issue of the Confederate flag, Americans came far from reaching a consensus on what it symbolizes. In the South, 49 percent said that it represents Southern history and heritage while 34 percent of Southern respondents thought it was racist and should be removed from official locations.

In other regions, 46 percent said the flag was a racist symbol while 38 percent said it was not. Combining the results of respondents from every region, the national divide came to 42 percent saying the flag is racist and 42 percent saying it is not.

Of respondents, 47 percent said that the shooting in South Carolina was an isolated incident while 38 percent said that it reflected a “larger problem of racism” in America. Close to 59 percent said the shooting should not be characterized or treated as a terrorist attack, but 31 percent disagreed, reported The Weekly Standard.

Sources: The Weekly Standard, Suffolk University, USA Today, Reuters, The New York Times

Photo Source: Greta Ceresini/Flickr Creative Commons


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