UMass Poll: Most Americans Want Gun Control

FILE - In this Jan. 16, 2013 file photo, assault weapons and handguns are seen for sale at Capitol City Arms Supply in Springfield, Ill. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)
FILE - In this Jan. 16, 2013 file photo, assault weapons and handguns are seen for sale at Capitol City Arms Supply in Springfield, Ill. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)
AP

It may be time to rethink our gun laws.

A UMass Lowell poll released on May 14 surveyed a sample population of 1,172 Americans and found that most subjects support policy changes in favor of gun control.

“A majority of Americans – more than three-quarters in some cases – support major policy changes when it comes to gun control, including expanding background checks and banning assault weapons,” said the university in a press release.

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Specifically, 78 percent favor more thorough background checks and psychological analysis for people buying guns and 80 percent favor closing the “gun show loophole,” which allows gun buyers to forgo background checks all together.

The school also noted that “while large percentages of those who said they support more thorough background checks identified themselves as Democrats and independents, 70 percent of Republicans surveyed also said they support such a move.”

The poll consisted of ten questions. Subjects were first asked to identify their level of concern about gun control, gang violence, and mass shootings. Other questions proposed changes to gun laws and asked participants to rate their support for each.

According to the poll’s highlights, “perhaps the most interesting finding in the survey is that there is at least majority support of all of these proposals.”

Of the sample population, 60 percent support banning assault weapons, 78 percent support more thorough background checks, 80 percent would want to apply these laws to gun shows, and 52 percent support arming school teachers with a firearm. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.7 percent of the sample population.

Beyond these proposals, subjects also rated concerns about shootings and gang violence. ‘The [level of concern] for the type of crime seems to be skewed by the partisan of the American voter, with Republicans expressing far greater concern over gang violence than gun-related crimes or school shootings,” said political science major Makayle Washington in the poll’s press release.

The study was conducted by UMass Lowell students through YouGov, an internet-based market research firm, during the last week in April. You can find more information on the poll here.