North Carolinians support stricter gun laws

Last May, respondents to the Elon University Poll indicated that they were happy with gun laws the way they were. There wasn’t a strong sentiment to tighten them OR loosen them. 

That was before Newtown.

Opinions of those surveyed in the latest Elon University Poll aren’t ambivalent. North Carolinians are strongly in favor of requiring background checks for anyone and everyone buying a gun. Ninety-three percent support it. (This fits with another independent poll conducted in N.C. January.) Background checks are not required in private gun sales when the seller is not a federally licensed dealer. Those sales are not infrequent.

Poll respondents also support a waiting period, 83 percent to 15 percent.

It gets closer after that, but it’s still decisive.

* Limiting the number of rounds of ammo per clip? 55 percent in support; 39% against.

* Banning the sale of semi-automatic assault rifles? 55.5 percent in support; 40 percent against.

“We spent a good deal of time writing and pretesting several versions of the assault rifle question,” Assistant Poll Director Jason Husser said. “We wanted to ensure it was as absolutely neutral as possible. We didn’t mention specific guns like AR-15s or AK-47s in order to prevent a liberal bias. And, we made sure our interviewers read “semi-automatic” very clearly.

” Politicians on both side won’t use such neutral language when discussing gun control legislation.”

Breaking it down by party, Democrats, Republicans and Independents all support the background checks and the waiting period. They separate after that.

* Support for limiting rounds of ammo: 77 percent of Democrats; 54 percent of Independents; 35 percent of Republicans.

* Support for banning the sale of semi-automatic assault rifles: 78 percent of Democrats; 53 percent of Independents; 38 percent of Republicans.

Women, meanwhile, tend to support stricter laws and men, not so much.

None of this is particularly surprising or contrary to national polls. It is unlikely, though, that this will result in any changes in North Carolina laws. The General Assembly and the governor’s office are controlled by Republicans. House Speaker Thom Tillis said he doesn’t expect any gun control legislation to pass the house. Senate leader Phil Berger said North Carolina “will not move backward” on this issue.  Gov. McCrory has said that the laws on the books are sufficient and need to be enforced.

The Elon Poll surveyed all North Carolina resident, not just registered voters.

— John Robinson

3 responses to “North Carolinians support stricter gun laws

  1. Georgia Schore

    800+ survey takers DOESNOT reflect the thoughts of the majority. Try calling the Western, Southern, Eastern, and Northern quatrants of the state and not the triangle. Bet the score goes the other way.

  2. The article itself points out the inherent bias built into the questions. “We spent a good deal of time writing and pretesting several versions of the assault rifle question,” Assistant Poll Director Jason Husser said. “We wanted to ensure it was as absolutely neutral as possible.”

    “Assault rifle” is a made-up term. It was introduced during the on ban weapons with certain cosmetic features, but the general public conflates it with “automatic weapons,” which are patently illegal. No one in the US, barring those with special permits, extensive background checks, and lots of money, owns an automatic weapon. By using the term “assault rifle,” the survey skews the results as it asks the question. Sloppy polling technique. Same thing with “ammunition clips.”

  3. Pingback: More restrictions on handguns? Yes | Elon University Poll

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