“Fifty-five percent of Americans say they want laws covering the sale of firearms to be stricter than they are now,” gallup.com reports, “a distinct rise of eight percentage points from 2014.” The news is sure to hearten Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate who’s come out of the gun control closet in the run up to the 2016 election. But all is not what it seems here. For one thing . . .
The poll was conducted in the immediate aftermath of the Umpqua Community College spree killing. Americans typically agree with calls for “stricter firearms sales laws” after a mass shooting, After Newtown, 58 percent of Gallup’s survey-takers were up for “tighter” restrictions on firearms sales. The most recent 55 percent stat is still down three percent from 2012’s stat. And don’t forget: there’s a four percent margin of error.
Needless to say, Democrats and self-identified Independents account for the pro-tighter gun sales law surge. That said, Gallup reports that “support increased even among those who say they own a handgun, from 30% in 2014 to 36% this year.” I reckon that’s because more people own handguns than ever before, generally. But it’s clear that the gun-owning anti-gunner (a.k.a., “Fudd”) is a thing. Although . . .
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Oct. 7-11, 2015, with a random sample of 1,015 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
As TTAG readers constantly and rightly point out, a significant portion of telephone respondents are unlikely to “admit” to a phone survey that they own a firearm; which may account for Gallup’s claim that “Overall in the U.S., 43% say they have a gun somewhere in their household, and 28% say they personally own a gun.” See a problem there?
And there’s this: “that event [the Umpqua massacre] seems to have mainly affected Americans’ views about laws on gun sales, but not other topics relating to guns.” To wit:
The percentage of Americans who favor a law providing that only authorized persons (including the police) would be allowed to possess handguns has remained low since the 1990s. This year, 27% — near the record low — say there should be this type of ban. This trend has been generally declining since Gallup began asking this question in 1959, when 60% said such a law should exist.
So yes to guns but also yes to Universal Background Checks? We’ll see how this plays out in the presidential election cycle. Keep your powder dry.