Previous Post
Next Post

We’ve posted some polling numbers here previously, specifically ones that were based on a relatively small sample size and taken immediately following the shooting, that indicated a slight increase in the desire for stricter gun control. Gallup has just concluded a slightly larger and more recent poll that seems to indicate that while gun control is one option, it’s actually fourth overall in terms of what Americans want after Sandy Hook . . .

We’ve been talking ad nauseum about how the biggest contributing factor to the lethality of the shooting and one that can be quickly solved is the insistence on gun-free school zones. And it seems that’s an opinion that is resonating with the American public. From Gallup:

Slightly more than half (53%) of Americans say that increased police presence would be very effective. This action is at the top of the effectiveness list.

After armed security comes increased spending on mental health, then violent video games (the second favorite scapegoat for spree killers’ actions), and finally gun control — waaaay down in fourth place on the list of things that people want to see.

Much of the discussion since Friday’s devastating mass shooting has focused on the potential efficacy of new laws on gun sales and ownership. Forty-two percent of Americans say that banning the sale of semi-automatic weapons would be “very effective” in preventing mass shootings. Another 21% say such actions would be “somewhat effective,” and 36% say they would be “not effective.”

The one thing that people seem to really be against is arming teachers. Only 34% believed it would be very effective at preventing a repeat performance.

The major division seems to be along party lines. Democrats vastly favor increased gun control, while Republicans seem to think it would be a waste of time.

There are major partisan differences in the ratings of several — but not all — of the potential actions tested.

The biggest differences between Democrats and Republicans are on the banning of assault weapons — 61% of Democrats rate it as very effective vs. 26% of Republicans — and spending more on mental health actions — 67% of Democrats say it would be very effective vs. 35% of Republicans.

Even among Democrats, mental health reform seems to be a bigger concern than gun control.

I think Gallup sums it up pretty well with their “bottom line,” so I’ll let them take it from here.

Americans don’t hold the belief that any one action — at least out of the six tested in this research — would be overwhelmingly effective in preventing future mass shootings at schools. At most, 53% say that an increased police presence at schools would be very effective; leaving almost half who say that such an action would be somewhat or not at all effective.

The focus since the Newtown shootings has been primarily on new gun laws. Various U.S. representatives and senators have either introduced or have promised to introduce new gun control legislation over the past several days. President Barack Obama has talked about new gun laws, and his appointment of Vice President Joe Biden to head up the White House task force to reduce gun violence will no doubt focus heavily on gun legislation. Many Americans, however, apparently continue to harbor doubts that laws, such as a ban on semi-automatic weapons, would be highly effective in preventing future mass shootings at schools.

Gallup polling conducted after previous high-profile incidents of gun-related mass shootings has shown similar attitudes in relationship to gun control. Open-ended questions asked after the tragic incidents at Virginia Tech and in Tucson, Ariz., found that respondents were more likely to suggest means of preventing these shootings that did not involve gun control than to mention preventative steps that did involve gun control.

More recently, a CBS News poll conducted after Friday’s shootings found that only 26% of Americans said that stricter gun laws would have done a lot to prevent the Newtown shootings. Half said stricter laws would have had no effect.

Gallup is updating its long-term trends on gun control and will report the results next week. It is likely that support for stricter gun laws will go up. Whether or not this public support stays higher will not be evident until months have passed. The horrific nature of this latest mass shooting, however, and the fact that it involved young children, could mean that the Newtown shootings will serve as a tipping point in Americans’ attitudes on preventing gun violence not seen after previous incidents.

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. Doesn’t mean much to me. The pols that want gun bans are in places that are dominated by people that want it or don’t care and they’re going try their best to force it on the rest of us.

    • Agreed.

      Also, the most useful result of this poll is to tell us that at the time it was taken, people were thinking slightly more rationally (police, mental health) than they were emotionally (depiction of violence, gun bans).

      That’s the wedge point right there, folks. If we can shift the conversation to focus on armed response in schools (by rolling up the police and armed school staff into a single issue) and mental health, gun bans and scary video games can be pushed ever further out of the debate.

      Personally, I’ve about had my fill of defense on gun issues. My own sister posted some “million moms against assault weapons” crap to FB today. We need to make this about deterrence, effective response, and mental health issues.

  2. Like I said when Obama made his asinine speech; What, exactly, is his source for ~”Most law abiding gun owners would support new gun control.”

    • This was what I came down here to say. Adding “very” and “somewhat” increases “armed school officials” to be one point higher than the combined total for weapon bans.

      • Sorry to be the downer here, but that is a terrible choice in debate tactics. Combining very and somewhat puts a whole bunch of stuff into “look, the majority of those surveyed support this!!!” territory.

        See my comment above on finding the wedge point and splitting this into stuff that we push on and stuff that gets refuted or ignored.

    • The antis would have you believe it means a lot to Washington when it comes to infringing upon constitutionally-protected rights (you know, the ones enacted to protect the rights of minorities from being violated by the majority).

  3. I look at the arming teachers part of this poll like this: 64% of the people who answered believe that it will help to some degree. I think that is a great starting point to open the way for repealing gun free zones and specifically allowing teachers and administrators to be armed.

    On a side note: We don’t have to decrease the depiction of violence in the media, parents just need to take responsibility and not allow their children to be exposed to those portions of the media they find objectionable.

  4. It looks like one of the potential costs for avoiding AWB 2.0 would be increased government spending. It certainly would be helpful to have a few armed guards in uniform to help prevent target confusion for responding personnel. Any way you slice it, this terrible incident will continue to cost John Q. Public in freedom and tax dollars.

    • I’d be OK with a specific excise tax on guns and ammo and related accesrories if and only if it went to pay retired vets or injured vets who can no longer serve in combat but are still capable of taking down an active shooter threat to be posted into schools.

    • You’re a LEO — in your AO (SoCal, right?) do you think target discrimination is a significant concern?

      I think it’s much more likely to be an issue in the disarmed-citizen states than places with common CCW. Next time I chat with the local PD and Sheriff’s deputies I plan to ask how they see it in the Bay Area. The answers should be interesting since they just completed some Urban Shield exercises.

    • Personally, I’m against arming people. But I’m for allowing people to be armed. There is a difference. One forces someone to do something, the other allows someone to do something.

      • This…… For some reason the liberal media doesn’t understand the difference between pushing a gun in to someone’s hands, and allowing them to carry a gun if they so choose.

    • You see Mikeb, what you are really saying is that you look at yourself with complete and utter contempt.

      You are basically saying that you don’t have the mental, moral or spiritual fortitude to stand up and effectively neutralize a lethal threat to yourself or anyone you care about. So you believe no one else who isn’t a designated agent of the state has the capability either, it’s called transference.

      What a depraved and degenerate state you exist in.

        • Mikeb302000 is Also Mike Beard, who is also the head of CSGV (Coalition to Stop Gun Violence). I can prove it with links that show the same person on a CSGV video that is the owner of the FB page Mike Beard and Mikeb302000.

          Just look at CSGV and you will no longer wonder why MikeB302000 says some of the stupidest things you can read on the internet.

        • Wrong, which only goes to show what a low standard you characters have for “proof.”

          Besides, why are some of you so obsessed with me? Isn’t it what I have to say that’s important?

        • Mike, I read your remark “foolish public” as being contemtuous to those in the poll, like many here, who believe their are many more effective solutions to deterring behavior, than blaming the tool.

          Maybe you meant well, but the fact is, your own words here have created the impression that your mindset, or perspective, in not that of debating facts, but of mocking or calling names.

          Do you understand? I assume you are looking for something here, and if its sincere communcation, you are going to have to work hard to overcome that history. Otherwise you just reinforce the appearance of being a troll. A useful one, as your arguments are easily rebutted with facts, but a troll none-the-less.

          PS: The “tu quoque” argument that “they did it too”, is also not logically valid, nor mature.

        • No, I don’t understand. Whenever you guys resort to accusing us of blaming the tool, I figure you have such a weak argument y0u can’t think of anything better. I’m continually talking about “one strike you’re out.” Is that blaming the tool?

    • MikeB,

      Two weeks ago, there would have been far less or a lower response in support of arming a school official. Things are changing and people will increasingly consider and support school officials with guns.

      • You should step out of the echo chamber once in a while. You’d see that public opinion is moving in the other direction. Several journalists and politicians changed sides after this latest incident. Do you think any gun control folks did that? No, it’s moving away from gun-rights.

  5. Conducting a popular opinion poll is interesting and all, but it doesn’t matter because the general population is, on average, ignorant about most of the topics in question. I’m no expert, but know enough about guns to educate many of my friends on the basics (ex. semi vs. full auto, gun free zones, mass shootings prevented by CC’ers, etc.) I’ll admit to knowing DIDDLY about our mental health system. I also imagine there are numerous studies about violent video games/movies/tv and their affects (or non-affects) on kids. But again, I don’t know diddly about that either. So opinion polls are just that: opinions. Shaped more by the media, personal bias, ignorance, fear, etc. Give me experts, who cite common logic and peer-reviewed studies to back up their conclusions, please.

  6. Public support starting to fall, especially when given the other options out there. As Dan Zimmerman wrote in the article “it’s time to take a deep breath” people are starting into the depression phase of loss and instead of being mad at the evil gun that did this they are starting to put two and two together and realize that failed policies are causing this, gun free zones and mental health issues. They are realizing that a piece of metal does not cause this.

    • Your right , I think most know the tool doesn’t do it its the mad man who will find any weapon to to this so depriving our rights may not be the answer.

  7. I am dissillusioned, I thought the Pres. was better than this. His solution is a political one, nothing that will protect the kids. In these gun free zones they really are trying to protect the criminal. I don’t have a political party at this point, Randy

  8. That’s the thing about polls…they are opinion based. I don’t believe in democracy or majority rule, even when it works in my favor. I would rather see facts and solid research data, then I will form my personal opinion around that. The over reliance on polls is, I believe, one of the things that has undermined policy, objective thought and reason in this country. It has the appearance of science, but is nothing of the sort – it is pseudo-science. And too often, the opinions come first with the polls, and then the facts are made to fit them or thrown out in favor of consensus. It doesn’t work – for either side.

  9. I expect that Deputy Fuhrer Vice President Biden’s plan will involve violating as many Constitutional Amendments as possible while creating a larger and more dangerous government. The end game is the complete disarmament of all Americans so as to leave us helpless.

    What we are watching in Washington right now is the transformation of America into a half-@ssed European nanny state where government dominates every aspect of day to day life. The “average American” currently forks over more almost 55% of his income to governments. Thus, we are working more for government than we work for ourselves. It’s going to get worse but it’s okay because it’s for our own good.

    If this doesn’t make you sick, then it’s clear that you’ve been well brainwashed.

    • I wish people would wake up to this. About two years ago, our family income was so low that we were on the verge of qualifying for reduced-price school lunches. You would think a family with children who qualifies (or almost qualifies) for reduced-price school lunches would get some sort of tax breaks. So I tallied up all the taxes we paid out that year. Between income, sales, property, and social security/medicare taxes, we paid out about 33% of our income to governments!

      Then I looked at the situation had we earned $96,000 that year. We would have paid nearly 50% to federal, state, and local governments. So instead of taking home $8000 per month, we would have taken home $4000 per month. If someone wants a better economy, tell the government to stop confiscating thousands of dollars per month from citizens!

    • Your right the fascist party or Democratic party doesn’t care on what the people want or what will stop killing they want “POWER” over the minions (the poeple of this nation) to control and do what they want to. But polls and gun rights groups which includes us hep us and our GOP friends defeat this AWB in congress there many progunner in both houses. Some said if you want to talk/debate guns fine and some say oh no there going to ban guns NO after talking to some they said we can talk we will not violate or 2A. So I think with support we can beat this I think RF and Nick says the same.

  10. Remember, the President didn’t ask for a bill to be passed, or sign an EO, he set up a committee to look at the problem. It’s a good way to let everyone cool down, and perhaps start to think rationally.

      • If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, its a duck.

        Obama’s comments on the record to the Brady supporters about doing things “under the radar”, and to Putin on the sly, but caught on tape, promising to “act with more flexibility”, and the proof of Holder bending/breaking the law, as he did in Fast and Furious,

        makes this “commission” nothing but cover for his abuse of Executive power, counter to the will of the majority of the people.

  11. Well consider this. Our neighbor is a meek, mild mannered lady. She is a delightful, likeable person and a caring mom. Her family does not own any firearms. Her only exposure to firearms was seeing my wife’s sidearm one day as they were going out for a walk. The day after the Newtown shooting, she spoke with my wife. One of her first questions was, “Why don’t we have armed parents and teachers in our schools?”

    I was totally shocked. It is becoming apparent to me that more people “get it” than we realize.

    • I have also been pleasantly surprised by how the debate has been going in today’s equivalent of the public forum, namely the discussion threads following articles on major news sites.

      People really are rallying behind the idea of deterrence and effective response, and we need to encourage that any way we can. Even if that means increased government spending.

    • I had the same experience awhile back, talking with one of my neighbors- a natural health professional, who drives an electric vehicle, who I would have “assumed” was typically left-wing, and likely anti-gun, if you asked me.

      He had bought a handgun for self-defence and was sincerely interested in training responsibly, and we had a good conversation about “how to do” that.

      I have a feeling there are a lot of other good people out there, who we can agree to disagree upon some things, who are looking for good information here, about self-defense, and guns. They can’t ask their liberal friends or go on Facebook, or risk public condemnation by some.

  12. The one thing that people seem to really be against is arming teachers!? Train and arm every last one! What could possibly be more effective than always having someone right there when it starts who could end it immediately? Besides, those same teachers would be far safer when stopping for milk on the way home.

  13. Nick, thanks for this piece. I’m going to assume (hate doing that) that two weeks ago, the poll would have received lower negative support in calling for a school official to be armed and for the media to not to name the shooter. In other words, I think people are starting to discuss and consider the idea to arm a school official more now than before and are now more critical of how the mass media ‘glorifies’ the shooter possibly inspiring copy cat crimes.

  14. Polls are nice and all, but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter what americans think will make them safer, it matters what actually will. I don’t care if gun control laws make you feel safer, facts and historical evidence show that they don’t

  15. Further reminders that fully half the people you meet on a daily basis are pathetic idiots who want you and your family to be victims of violent crime thanks to being unarmed. Have a nice day.

  16. I think its good new look both polls show little increase if not hardly any support ofr new bans from Washington DC. While the Fuhrer or President Obama may not care congressmen will especially for progun congressmen who may face media pressure to ban our rights. But we got numbers on our side. They do face reelection so its another too like the NRA and GOA to fight and kill a AWB Obama and the hag from Kalifornia will try ram threw. I kept saying this too call you pro gun congressmen and support them to defend our rights. The doom anf gloom is from the media the last part of Nicks sighted article saying that no one support ban now will later that’s crap as we get away from shock and horror to logic again. SO ignore the idiots and pundents in media now and fight.

    We can win this people.

  17. Don’t play along with this game; they want us to look to THEM for protecting our children. As if ONLY THEY are qualified. That’s just another brick in the victim disarmament wall!

    We all are CITIZENS; our children are as well. Free men bear arms: we don’t need your steenkin’ COPS to do everything for us. They won’t come to our HOMES in time to stop violence; why would we assume they’d do any better at schools?

    And this absurd idea of cops “visiting each school every day”!!! THANK GOD the killers would never think of parking and waiting until the cop has come and gone!!!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here