Large Numbers of Americans Think Existing Guns Laws are Stronger than They Really Are

Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Knotted Gun sculpture by Swedish artist Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd in front of UN building in New York City

About half of all Americans believe the government should focus on enforcing existing gun-control laws instead of creating new ones. But many of those opposing new measures restricting firearms aren’t aware of what the current laws are.


A poll of 800 voters conducted for the Democratic National Committee revealed that 50% of respondents disapprove of Congress adopting more gun-control legislation. But apparently a majority of these Americans have taken this stand because they’re under the impression federal laws already mandate such things as universal background checks and limits on magazine size—which is not the case.


When asked if they believe anyone buying a gun should undergo a background investigation first, 87% of all survey respondents—including 90% of gun owners—said “yes.” Such a requirement currently does not exist in federal law.


On the issue of banning assault rifles, 59% of those surveyed favored such an idea, and 50% want semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines prohibited.


A majority of respondents stated their belief that it is illegal to sell guns to people on the terrorist watch list. In fact, there is no law in place banning such sales. (The General Accountability Office reported that 247 people on that list purchased weapons after passing a background check in 2010.)


One-third of those polled incorrectly thought that federal law requires merchants to inform authorities when someone purchases large amounts of ammunition in a short period of time.


Following the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, President Barack Obama proposed several new gun control measures, including limiting magazine capacity to 10 rounds, mandating that all gun buyers submit to background checks, and reinstituting the ban on dozens of models of assault rifles, which were prohibited from 1994-2004 before Congress allowed the ban to expire.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

NRA Tactics Lead Gun Owners to Think Universal Background Checks are Already Law (by Stephen B. Webster, Raw Story)

Don’t Know Much About Gun Laws (by Joel Benenson and Katie Connolly, New York Times)

Americans’ Desire for Tougher Gun Laws Up 13% from a Year Ago (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)       

Californians React to Mass Murder and Tough Gun Laws with Record Weapons Shopping Spree (by Ken Broder, AllGov California)          

Dozens Imprisoned for Violating Non-Existent Federal Gun Control Law (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)


Stanley Hill 11 years ago
Why don't you check with people in the know, like the police. 15,000 police poll is at Http:// Polls commissioned by organizations Against Handgun Violence and financed with Bloomberg donations, will always support gun control.

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