Well, here’s a sad poll regarding the Second Amendment: there is a consensus that gun owners should have to register their firearms into a national database. In fact, it’s an overwhelming consensus, according to the YouGov poll. In all, 64 percent of Americans support a registry. Of that figure, 59 percent of men and 68 percent of women agree. Additionally, concerning race, 61 percent of whites, 75 percent of blacks, and 68 percent of Hispanics also agree. Regarding income, from under $40k to over $80k, on average, 63 percent support a national database.
Wait; it gets even grimmer. Fifty percent of Republicans support this nefarious gun control policy, and those who describe themselves as conservative are split 45/44 on the measure. Concerning location, it’s unsurprising that 67 percent of residents in the liberal Northeast want a database, yet 64 percent of Midwesterners, 65 percent of southerners, and 60 percent of westerners also agree.
At the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2013, the National Rifle Association’s Executive Vice President, Wayne LaPierre, said the only reason the gun control crowd wants this measure is “to tax them and to take them.”
To no one’s surprise, 51 percent of gun owners oppose a national database, though a large proportion–43 percent–support it. At the same time, there are some weird questions regarding this poll, specifically the one about banning semi-automatic weapons. We'll, get to that in a second, but I guess the silver lining is that handguns, the most widely used firearm in the country, are not under threat of being banned. In fact, it seems the healthy majorities that oppose a ban on handguns, except for law enforcement, remained constant, with a base of support that transcends across regional, income, gender, political, and ideological lines. In the poll, 54 percent of Democrats were opposed to the idea. Regarding racial lines, most white and blacks agree a handgun ban is bad policy, though a plurality of Hispanics agree that only law enforcement should be able to be in possession of them (42/37 in favor of a civilian ban), while 21 percent are not sure [emphasis mine]:
One in five Americans personally own a gun – rifle, shotgun or handgun. Another 14% do not personally own a gun, but there is at least one in their household. Gun owners are more than twice as likely to be male as female. Conservatives and Republicans are nearly twice as likely as liberals and Democrats to own guns. And those in the Northeast are the least likely of those in any region to report owning a gun.
There is a reason people own guns. The most importance single reason appears to be personal safety. 77% of gun owners cite that as a reason to own a gun. Women gun owners are even more likely to say that safety matters. 85% of women who own guns say this. Nearly nine in ten of those who own only a handgun cite safety as the reason they have a handgun.
Women were actually split–29/28–as to which party best represents their view on gun control. Yet, what’s interesting is that the Northeast, Midwest, and the South are split as well.
Yet, the weirdest question related to the ban on semi-automatic firearms, which is an outright gun ban. The vast majority of firearms in this country are self-reloading, or semi-automatic. The handguns and AR-15 rifles you see at various gun dealers and outdoor chains are semi-automatic. What YouGov is asking is whether you support a gun ban–and 51 percent said yes!
Men are split 44/44; women favor it 58/21; and the only age group not to hit 50 percent approval is, surprisingly, millennials 45/29. Fifty percent of whites, 60 percent of blacks, and 51 percent of Hispanics back a virtual firearm ban. Thirty-five percent of self-identified conservatives support it.
The only silver linings here are that a) people don’t know the difference between semi-automatic and fully automatic; the latter of which you’d need to go through the ATF regarding the proper registration/licensing b) if they do know the difference, I bet these numbers in favor of a ban would drop c) in the worst case scenario that the sample knows the difference, there’s a lot of folks who answered “not sure,” meaning there’s a lot of room to maneuver concerning shaping public opinion that has been consistently trending in the pro-Second Amendment direction.
Another bit of good news is that the American public do not want people with mental illness owning firearms. Alas, we find common ground!
The full poll can be read here.