Gallup: Opposition to handgun ban hits all-time high

posted at 12:01 pm on December 27, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

So how would Piers Morgan fare with his proposed constitutional amendment to repeal gun rights?  Amazingly, nearly three-quarters of Americans agree on handguns, anyway …  but not with Piers Morgan.  According to the latest Gallup survey taken within days of the Newtown massacre, a record number of Americans oppose a handgun ban, 74/24:

Despite Americans’ willingness to strengthen gun laws in the wake of Sandy Hook and other deadly mass shootings, Gallup finds public opposition to a broad ban on the possession of handguns at a record-high 74%. Conversely, the 24% in favor is the lowest recorded since Gallup first asked the question in 1959.

How about the “assault-rifle” ban?  Technically, an “assault rifle” is an automatic weapon, which is already banned.  Gallup asks respondents whether they are “for or against a law which would make it illegal to manufacture, sell, or possess semi-automatic guns known as assault rifles,” which is a badly-written question in several ways.  Even so, a majority opposes such a law, by just a slightly narrower gap than a year ago:

Two aspects of the Newtown shooting that have been a focal point of recent discussions about gun laws are the semi-automatic rifle and high-capacity ammunition magazines used by the shooter. Several state and federal lawmakers have already announced that they will seek to ban both from the commercial market.

Nevertheless, Americans’ views on the sale of assault rifles are unchanged. The slight majority, 51%, remain opposed to making it illegal to manufacture, sell, or possess semi-automatic guns known as assault rifles.

Notably, the 44% in favor of assault rifle bans in response to this trend question is nearly identical to the 42% Gallup found favoring assault and semi-automatic bans in a Dec. 18 poll. In that survey, participants responded to a question asking about possible approaches to preventing mass shootings at schools, similar to the shooting that occurred Dec. 14 in Connecticut.

That’s not to say that the mass murder and the resultant debate hasn’t moved the needle at all.  For the first time in four years, a majority wants restrictions on gun sales expanded, although at 58% it’s still on the lower end of the historical trend.  On that question, the general US population has only fallen short of a majority on that question from 2008-2011, and the numbers in the 1990s were all in the 60-percent range.  Also, as has been the case for a long time, there is near-unanimity on requiring background checks for all gun sales, including those at gun shows and presumably private sales (92%, 83% in 1999).

There is also significant support for banning the sale and possession of high-capacity magazines, which are defined in this poll as “high-capacity ammunition clips that can contain more than 10 bullets.”  If possession is banned, then that means millions of gun owners could find themselves in violation of the law, even for their handguns, unless the law grandfathers those magazines already in possession.  If so, though, it’s difficult to see how the law will be able to distinguish between those bought before or after the ban.

The overall takeaway seems to be that the Newtown shooting hasn’t actually changed many people’s positions on gun rights.  It’s just made them more vocal about those positions.

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The anti-gun left has not only overplayed their hand, they’ve unintentionally clarified the intent of the 2nd Amendment in the process. The local gun stores (DC) have sold out of not just AR platform rifles, but also many popular handguns and ammo. This is not just a few gun enthusiasts that are hoarding, this is an influx of new gun owners who are grabbing them off the shelves.

The explicit purpose of the Second Amendment is for the security of a free state – free from oppressive, over-ambitious, over restrictive government.

The left holds up abortion and gay marriage as civil rights, but is woefully ignorant to the most important civil right printed in the Bill of Rights – and they are vastly overreaching. They will lose this fight.

dugan on December 27, 2012 at 4:21 PM

This may come as a shock to you, but Congress doesn’t give two hoots about what the electorate thinks about anything. Congress is paid to live your life for you, and that by God is what they’re gonna do!

Mr. Grump on December 27, 2012 at 4:31 PM

The local gun stores (DC) have sold out of not just AR platform rifles, but also many popular handguns and ammo. This is not just a few gun enthusiasts that are hoarding, this is an influx of new gun owners who are grabbing them off the shelves.

dugan on December 27, 2012 at 4:21 PM

There’s a reason why the rat-eared wonder is going on his fourth year as Salesman of the Year at pretty much all the gun stores. Personally, I’m waiting for the Inaguration Day specials to head over to my local gun store.

Happy Nomad on December 27, 2012 at 5:00 PM

There’s a reason why the rat-eared wonder is going on his fourth year as Salesman of the Year at pretty much all the gun stores. Personally, I’m waiting for the Inaguration Day specials to head over to my local gun store.

Happy Nomad on December 27, 2012 at 5:00 PM

I doubt there will be much for special sales. Everything is already selling out at whatever price the stores put on it – no need for a sale to boost sales.
I’m hoping to pick up my new Windham M-4 today. I may have gotten it cheaper through Walmart, or elsewhere – IF I could have gotten it at all anywhere else.

dentarthurdent on December 27, 2012 at 5:05 PM

I need to go and buy more 00 and 000 shells……

ultracon on December 27, 2012 at 2:55 PM

Hmm, are those generally perceived to be the best home defense/short range load? Read somewhere that some folks were suggesting something like a ’4′ (sorry, new to shotgun shell varieties, lol).

Midas on December 27, 2012 at 4:05 PM

No4 shot, less over-penetration of interior walls. See theboxotruth.com

should be able to find decent 00 buck ammo for no more than .80/rd, even now.

rayra on December 27, 2012 at 5:49 PM

Personally, I’m waiting for the Inaguration Day specials to head over to my local gun store.

Happy Nomad on December 27, 2012 at 5:00 PM

Cute sentiment, but there isn’t going to be anything left by then. pace increased on the 26th, when stores re-opened after all the family gatherings.

rayra on December 27, 2012 at 5:52 PM

I say let them go for it.

For the simple reason that with 2014 around the corner any Senator in a Red or Purplish state who does vote for a ban would be swept out the door.
Quickest way the GOP could take back the Senate is if the Senate passed a gun bill.

Blu3Yeti on December 27, 2012 at 5:52 PM

You can’t BAN possession of legal products in someones possession. It’ a violation of the 4th amendment.

TX-96 on December 27, 2012 at 5:53 PM

You can’t BAN possession of legal products in someones possession. It’ a violation of the 4th amendment.

TX-96 on December 27, 2012 at 5:53 PM

Oh, well, if the legislation would be unconstitutional then OBVIOUSLY the Progressives in Congress will just forget about it, and the WH DEFINITELY won’t figure out a way to do exactly the same thing via tyrannical executive fiat.

All is well.

Harpazo on December 27, 2012 at 6:06 PM

You can’t BAN possession of legal products in someones possession. It’ a violation of the 4th amendment.

TX-96 on December 27, 2012 at 5:53 PM

It’s also a violation of Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution, prohibition against ex post facto laws.

rayra on December 27, 2012 at 6:44 PM

Oh the Christmas elf (wife) was good to me, 9mm hot loads to feed the Sig/Sauer paper punch.

stormridercx4 on December 27, 2012 at 7:07 PM

Most ‘normal’ people hate you and your gun toting, narrow minded ilk. Go pollute your own country somewhere far far away from the rest of us.

lostmotherland on December 21, 2012 at 6:51 PM

It’s OUR country, princess. WE fought for it. WE defended it.
WE BUILT IT.

You want a country without us?

Go find one. Far away.

(btw; You’re not normal, lostmotherraper. You’re one of the most ABnormal posters on this board.)

Solaratov on December 27, 2012 at 7:26 PM

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