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NAT’L – GUN CONTROL/GUN RIGHTS – Analyzing Surveys on Banning Assault Weapons

Where does the American public stand on the issue of banning assault weapons? Based on new research conducted over the past several months, and on a review of other recently published results, our summary conclusion is that a clear majority of about six in 10 Americans currently support such a ban. A bit of history is in order. Gallup first asked about assault weapons in 1989 using this question wording: “Would you favor or oppose federal legislation banning the manufacture, sale and possession of semi-automatic assault guns, such as the AK-47?” The results showed 72% of Americans in favor. Gallup asked a similar question about a “ban on assault weapons” on an intermittent basis in the years thereafter, always finding a majority in favor, albeit with different levels of support. In 1996, Gallup used different wording to ask about assault weapons, structuring the question to fit into a referendum format measuring support for a list of different proposals: “Now, I am going to read several propositions that would prohibit and make illegal certain activities. Would you vote for or against a law which would make it illegal to manufacture, sell or possess semi-automatic guns known as assault rifles?” The results showed 57% in favor. Gallup again used that wording in 2000, showing a similar percentage (59%) in favor.  [full article]

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