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Posted by on Dec 21, 2012 in At TMV, Featured, Law, Society | 8 comments

Pew Poll: Most Gun Owners Think Assault Weapons Make Us Less Safe

Bushmaster rifleUpdated: There may be issues with defining what an “assault weapon” is, but according to todays news from Pew:

Half of those with a gun in the household (50%) say allowing citizens to own assault weapons makes the country more dangerous for citizens, fewer (34%) say this makes this country safer.

That is huge, given that most people in the country don’t own guns. Of the almost two-thirds (according to Pew) of us who do not own guns, 64% favor controlling ownership.

As a general statement, according to this latest poll we are willing to control the sale of ammo more than guns.

  • 56% favor banning bullets that explode or can penetrate bullet-proof vests; 36% oppose
  • 53% favor banning high-capacity ammunition clips that can hold more than 10 bullets; 42% oppose

hand gunVery few support banning HAND guns which, I’m pretty sure, are pictured in folks’ minds as pistols, not revolvers, based on Hollywood.

What sort of political will will Congress express? Will rural views (gun “rights”) trump urban ones (“safety”)?

And I don’t think the NRA proposal to put armed guards in every school is going to pass muster, even with gun owners.

The overall survey has a 95% confidence, +/- 3.4 points. The margin of error increases when analyzing sub-groups.


  • Reordered -> moved my NRA observation to the closing graph.
  • The Pew questions seem to rely on perceptions of what words mean (“clips”) versus how gun owners use the words. I’m more interested in perceptions than specifics, because perception is the first step towards getting to specifics, which is the province of Congress and lobbyists. That’s why I led with the perception expressed by people who own guns. It’s not that different from the perception of the public at large.
  • I also agree that the issue with gun violence in America isn’t limited to mass murders. I understand the difference in attitude in rural areas, where law enforcement may be a half-hour away, and urban centers. I also understand that the crime rate is a helluva lot lower in those rural areas, so the risk of robbery etc is lower there.
  • As I’ve stated elsewhere: I grew up with guns. (I am from the rural south, after all.) I shot at an early age. And I’ve shot at a range (only once) here in suburban Seattle.
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