Americans are only slightly more eager for gun control now than they were before the horrific Colorado theater shootings, according to a new poll.
The Pew Research Center survey
shows 47 percent of respondents now think it’s more important to control gun ownership, while 46 percent believe it’s more important to protect the rights of Americans to own guns. The survey has a 3.6 percentage point margin of error.
The current numbers are little changed from April, when 49 percent of Americans thought gun rights were the biggest concern, and 45 percent chose gun control.
The same lack of change shone through in surveys after other recent shootings, including the January 2011 episode in Tucson, Ariz., and the shooting spree at Virginia Tech in April 2007.
Americans don’t see the July 20 Aurora shootings as a symbol of broader social problems. Two-thirds maintain that such shootings represent the isolated acts of troubled individuals. Only 24 percent see the shootings as part of broader social problems.
Public opinion has been split fairly evenly between gun control and gun rights since early 2009. Before then, going back to Pew’s first polling on this issue in 1993, a majority of respondents consistently put gun control ahead of gun ownership rights.
Republicans favor gun rights over gun control 71 percent to 26 percent, while Democrats favor gun control 72 percent to 21 percent. Among independents, 50 percent opt for gun rights, and 43 percent for gun control.
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