The gun-control debate has been reignited in some circles after the horrific massacre in a Colorado movie theatre last Friday, but it won’t likely be a campaign issue in the 2012 presidential election. Both presidential candidates have signaled an unwillingness to make the topic a prominent one in the campaign heading forward. On CNBC’s “The Kudlow Report” Monday, presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney said he was a “firm believer in the Second Amendment,” which runs along similar lines he’s made on his campaign website. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama does not plan to push the issue any further in this election.
There’s a reason Obama won’t likely pursue the issue during the campaign. Recent history suggests that although some controversy has ensued over one of the weapons suspected gunman James Holmes used in the Colorado shooting, it won’t push public support toward new restrictions on gun ownership — or even toward a rehash of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which expired in 2004.
But some politicians, like New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, have pushed for more talk on the subject of gun control in the wake of the shootings.
Like everything else, Americans are divided along party, ideological, gender and racial and socioeconomic lines on the subject of gun control. But some of America’s agreements might surprise you.
In the last 12 years, though, there has been a rapid rise in support for gun rights. More people now support protecting rights of gun ownership than controlling it.
An earlier, 2010 Pew Research poll displayed some divides among Americans on gun-control issues. For example, 57 per cent of men want more gun rights, compared with just 37 per cent of women.
Republicans prefer protecting gun rights, 70-26. Democrats favour controlling ownership, 67-30. Independents narrowly side with Democrats on the issue.
Source: Pew Research centre
After the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, public opinion moved a bit toward stricter regulations. It moved up 6 per cent over the previous year.
Despite their differences, 62 per cent of Americans agree that semi-automatic weapons should be banned. The AR-15 used in Colorado is a semi-automatic weapon.
And 63 per cent of Americans want a nationwide ban on assault weapons and a ban on high-capacity clips that can hold many rounds of ammunition.
Americans also favour restricting the purchase of guns to the mentally ill, drug abusers and others deemed dangerous. And 74 per cent think gun owners should need to pass a criminal background check.
Bottom line: 87 per cent of NRA members agree that support for Second Amendment rights goes hand-in-hand with keeping guns out of the hands of criminals.
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