Poll: Only 33% Think Stricter Gun Laws Might Have Prevented Navy Yard Shooting

by Chad D. Baus

A new poll has found that, despite the latest mass shooting by a mentally-ill person at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday, support for more gun control has fallen to its lowest level in over a year. According to the poll, most Americans don't think tougher gun control would have prevented this week's killings anyway.

From Rasmussen Reports:

Just 33% of American Adults believe it's at least somewhat likely that stricter gun control laws would have prevented the mass shooting in Washington, DC, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. That includes 15% who say it is Very Likely stricter laws would have prevented the tragedy. Fifty-nine percent (59%) think it's unlikely tougher gun laws would have prevented the shooting, including 26% who say it's Not At All Likely.

Forty-four percent (44%) believe the United States needs stricter gun control laws, but that's the lowest support for increased gun control since July 2012, just after the mass shooting in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. Shortly after the elementary school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut last December, those supporting stricter gun control outnumbered opponents for the first time in surveys for several years. This support reached a high of 52% in late February but fell to 46% by August.

Now, 50% believe stricter gun laws are not needed, the highest level of opposition in over a year.

The survey also found that only thirty-four percent (34%) of adults believe stricter gun laws would decrease violent crime, a finding that has slowly declined since Newtown. Slightly more (36%) say they would have no impact on violent crime. Twenty-two percent (22%) believe tougher gun laws would actually increase violent crime.

The poll also took a look at how views on the issue break down by party affiliation, as well as demographic factors.

Other interesting findings:

  • Only 23% would feel safer moving to a neighborhood where nobody was allowed to own a gun
  • 51% believe stricter background checks will not reduce the level of violent crime in America
  • 74% believe Americans have a constitutional right to own a gun
  • 44% of voters think it is at least somewhat likely that the government will try to confiscate all privately owned guns over the next generation or so

The survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on September 17-18, 2013 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

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