Poll: No, Americans don't think it's "too easy" to buy a gun

Liberal politicians clearly aren’t getting the message, but according to a new CNN/ORC poll the American public is. The fact is that we’ve already made it increasingly complicated, expensive and difficult for law abiding citizens to purchase a gun. Additional efforts to further restrict gun ownership aren’t going to discourage criminals, but they will affect those who choose to obey the law. And now that seems to be close to the prevailing opinion in the country. (Washington Free Beacon)

For the first time since its inception, a CNN/ORC poll finds that most Americans do not believe current gun laws make it “too easy” for Americans to buy guns.

When asked, “In your view, do existing laws make it too easy for people to buy guns, too difficult, or are they about right?”, 49 percent of respondents said “about right.”

Forty-one percent of respondents said current law made it “too easy” for people to buy guns and 10 percent said they made it “too difficult.” Only 1 percent of respondents had no opinion.

You can read the full survey results on CNN’s website. There are a couple more nuggets to fish out of this survey which are worth noting. First there is the question of whether people approve or disapprove of Barack Obama’s handling of gun policy. 35% approve while 59% disapprove. Unfortunately that question, when taken by itself, tells us virtually nothing. If you feel that gun laws are too restrictive you’re going to disapprove, but if you think that he’s not doing enough to confiscate guns from the law abiding you’re going to disapprove also. To get more of a sense of where the nation is we need to dig a little deeper.

Question 14 of the survey reads as follows:

If gun laws were changed so that more comprehensive background checks were put in place for all gun purchases, how likely do you think it is that they would:

For each of three issues, respondents were asked to choose from Extremely Likely, Very Likely, Somewhat Likely or Not Likely At All. Two of the listed effects were, Prevent those with mental health problems from buying guns and Make it harder for law-abiding citizens without mental health problems to buy guns. This one should catch your attention because it represents something of the disconnect which exists among the public on this question. 44% of people said that they thought it would make it either extremely likely or very likely to prevent the mentally ill from arming themselves, but 42% said the same about law-abiding citizens. It’s difficult to believe that there isn’t at least some overlap in that group, so how are we to deal with the potential “trade off” in stopping the mentally ill from obtaining weapons if it also impacts those who obey the laws? Clearly a lot more public education remains to be done.

None of these questions, however, deal with the ease with which criminals can buy weapons on the black market and our failure to enforce existing laws rather than dreaming up new ones. Perhaps in the future CNN could consider asking something long those lines.

There are plenty of non-gun related questions in the survey, so feel free to browse it. Some of the immigration and abortion questions in particular will prove enlightening.