Majority of Americans support dozens of policies to strengthen US gun laws

Jan 28, 2013

The majority of Americans support a broad array of policies to reduce gun violence, according to a new national public opinion survey conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. These policies include: requiring universal background checks for all gun sales (supported by 89 percent); banning the sale of military-style semiautomatic assault weapons (69 percent); banning the sale of large-capacity ammunition magazines (68 percent); and prohibiting high-risk individuals from having guns, including those convicted of a serious crime as a juvenile (83 percent) and those convicted of violating a domestic-violence restraining order (81 percent). Americans also support a range of measures to strengthen oversight of gun dealers and various policies restricting gun access by persons with mental illness.

The national survey, which over-sampled gun owners and non-gun owners living in homes with guns to allow for more precise estimates of opinions among these groups, was fielded in January, 2013, several weeks following the mass school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. The majority of Americans support all but 4 of the 31 gun policies asked about in the survey. For many policies, there was little difference in support between gun owners and non-gun-owners.

"This research indicates high support among Americans, including gun owners in many cases, for a wide range of policies aimed at reducing gun violence," said lead study author Colleen Barry, PhD, MPP, an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "These data indicate broad consensus among the American public in support of a comprehensive approach to reducing the staggering toll of gun violence in the United States."

At the same time, the researchers fielded a second national survey to assess Americans' attitudes about . This survey reveals ambivalent attitudes among the American public about mental illness. Sixty-one percent of respondents favor greater spending on mental health screening and treatment as a strategy for reducing gun violence, and 58 percent said discrimination against people with mental illness is a serious problem. Yet, almost half of respondents thought people with serious mental illness are more dangerous than others, and two-thirds expressed unwillingness to have a person with a serious mental illness as a neighbor.

"In light of our findings about Americans' attitudes toward persons with mental illness, it is worth thinking carefully about how to implement effective gun-violence–prevention measures without exacerbating stigma or discouraging people from seeking treatment," added Barry.

The results of both surveys are summarized in "After Newtown – Public Opinion on Gun Policy and Mental Illness," published online on January 28th in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Gun violence claims 31,000 U.S. lives each year in the U.S., and the rate of firearms homicides in America is 20 times higher than it is in other economically advanced nations.

Johns Hopkins researchers conducted this study using the survey research firm GfK Knowledge Networks. There were 2,703 respondents in the gun policy survey and 1,530 respondents in the mental illness survey.

"Not only are gun owners and non-gun-owners very much aligned in their support for proposals to strengthen U.S. gun laws," said co-author Daniel Webster, ScD, MPH, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, "but the majority of NRA members are also in favor of many of these policies."

The survey found that 74 percent of NRA members support requiring universal background checks for all ; 64 percent of NRA members support prohibiting people who have been convicted of two or more crimes involving alcohol or drugs within a 3-year period from having a gun, and 70 percent of NRA members want a mandatory minimum sentence of 2 years in prison for a person convicted of knowingly selling a gun to someone who is not legally allowed to own one.

"These data indicate that the majority of Americans are in favor of policy changes that would ultimately increase safety," said Jon Vernick, JD, MPH, co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for and Research and a co-author of the study. "This consensus should propel forward comprehensive legislation aimed at saving lives."

The publication of these surveys in The New England Journal of Medicine follows the Summit on Reducing in America: Informing Policy with Evidence and Analysis convened at Johns Hopkins University earlier this month. Ten days following the Summit, the Johns Hopkins University Press published Reducing Violence in America: Informing Policy with Evidence and Analysis, a book that summarizes the research, analysis, and recommendations from the two-day meeting.

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User comments : 28

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VendicarE
2.5 / 5 (10) Jan 28, 2013
Most Americans are damn Communists.
ryggesogn2
1.7 / 5 (25) Jan 28, 2013
Why will criminals obey any new laws?
Especially when the US AG intentionally violated US and Mexican laws to allow US purchased firearms to be smuggled into Mexico?
Dichotomy
2.3 / 5 (16) Jan 28, 2013
The D.C. area is an interesting area to analyze the effects of different gun laws. D.C. and Maryland have significant limitations for owning and carrying a gun, and most gun crimes in the D.C. area occur in D.C. and Maryland. Virginia (not just the D.C. associated "northern virginia") has some of the least restrictive gun laws in the country, and far less gun crime in the entire state despite the larger size and population.

All of the emphasis on guns laws however distracts from the real issue, the U.S.'s failed policies to help and treat people with mental problems.
FrankHerbert2
2.2 / 5 (17) Jan 28, 2013
It's almost as if urban areas tend to have more gun crime and stricter laws against gun use. Let's ban cities.

Until you control for population density your accusation of gun control leading to gun crime is intellectually dishonest at best.

Why will criminals obey any new laws?
Why do 'conservatives' insist on using this tired deflection? So what other laws do you plan to scrap? Murder is illegal yet we have problems with murder. Let's take murder statutes off the books, only criminals murder people anyway.

You do realize if there is a gun control law passed and you don't abide by it you are no longer a "law abiding gun owner"?
Dichotomy
2.5 / 5 (11) Jan 28, 2013
response to FrankHerbert2:
I'm not sure who some of your response is directed to but I'll respond since your counter-argument doesn't address the points I think some were trying to make.

1) Gun control does not lead to gun crime per se. It does however create geographies/locations that attract gun violence. For example, why did the recent shooter in Colorado drive past 2 movie theaters to go to the only one that advertised itself as a gun free zone? Why do many mass shootings take place at schools (gun free zones) rather than police stations, court houses, or gun stores (again all gun free zones)?

2) Your example with murder fails on the relevance criteria in logical argumentation. Murder is not a constitutional right and is not something that can be used legally / illegally. Instead lets use free speech. Everyone has it, but if its misued (yelling fire when there is none) you can go to jail. The right to free speech shouldn't be taken away because a few misuse it.

FrankHerbert3
2.3 / 5 (15) Jan 28, 2013
1) Schools are targeted because of children, not because they are gun-free zones.

2) Outlawing yelling "fire" in a crowded theater is no different than restricting gun ownership. Neither is a violation of constitutional rights. All rights have qualifications, even the right to life. The government can legally take your life as per the 5th amendment. To reiterate: banning clips of certain sizes, particular types of guns, etc. is equivalent to libel/slander laws, laws against threatening officials, laws against terroristic threats, etc.

Do you feel like your 1st amendment rights are infringed upon?
Jimee
2.8 / 5 (6) Jan 28, 2013
For those who believe the Second Amendment would be violated by gun control laws, I say try reading the Constitution for a change. Ignorance and false arguments can always lead to NRA talking points.
JRJ
4.2 / 5 (5) Jan 28, 2013
I would like to know where the data cited in the article relating to gun violence were obtained. According to the FBI, total firearm homicides in the US were below 10,000 (not over 30,000 as cited in the article) and have been dropping each year despite increases in gun ownership each year. In addition, according to data from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, the US has a gun homicide rate between 5 and 10 times higher than other economically advanced nations (depends on the nation in question) not 20 times higher as cited in the article.
JRJ
4 / 5 (4) Jan 28, 2013
I am also baffled as to the reasoning behind banning certain rifles simply because they look similar to ones in military use. The ones in military use are "select-fire" meaning they have the option of being set to fire more than one bullet each time the trigger is pulled. Weapons such as those have been illegal by federal law for civilian ownership without special licensing since 1934 and any made after 1986 can not be owned at all (a very few states have exceptions to this). The civilian weapons are semi-automatic. They fire one bullet each time the trigger is pulled just like most pistols and rifles that have the appearance of "traditional" hunting rifles. According to FBI data, the total number of gun homicides using rifles of any kind in the US (traditional or scary-looking) is about 4% of all firearm homicides.
Doug_Huffman
1.5 / 5 (16) Jan 28, 2013
Gun regulation is as effective as regulation of cocaine and heroin (and all malum prohibidum) - and regulation of the troll Frank HerbertX

MOLON LABE Lord of Flies, Lord of Lies
FrankHerbertX
2.4 / 5 (14) Jan 28, 2013
So you want to legalize cocaine and heroin? If not, why?

I wrote a haiku for you.

Gun regulation
Latin and Greek. Oh no guys!
Here comes Doug Huffman.

Molon labe... hmm that one is up there with remember the Alamo. You know Leonidas got the shit killed out him, right?
kochevnik
1.9 / 5 (13) Jan 28, 2013
On a side note notice that the Australian user Sinister has made a small legion of sockpuppets including VendicarE, Sputnik1 on Jan 26. That's the kind of collectivist mentality behind gun control

Beyond gun control, Americans support wearing dog shock collars, remotely controled by the TSA: https://www.youtu...oTnHD4nY

Then we have the USA, England and Israel trying to start uprising in Syria. Unfortunately the UN didn't back the triad. So USA tries to press the war illegally now in Syria

So better Americans are unarmed because if they continue this unfunded warmongering, the world will buy them up and spit them out. That's capitalism
VendicarE
3 / 5 (6) Jan 29, 2013
"Gun regulation is as effective as regulation of cocaine and heroin " - Doug Huffman

Then by your logic cocaine and heroin should be legalized?

How about Child molestation? Has laws against that stopped it any more than it has stopped cocaine and heroin use?

Would you legalize child molestation too?

Under the Libertarian Party platform child molestation would be legal. As long as the child is willing.

dan42day
2.1 / 5 (14) Jan 29, 2013
Obviously, the most important regulation is the banning of all long guns with pistol grips or thumb holes in the stock. These features make rifles and shotguns vastly more dangerous and deadly.

Thank goodness Sen. Feinstien recognizes the importance of this issue.
nebeeseer
2.5 / 5 (8) Jan 29, 2013
This Article is the biggest piece of bullshit.... Polls are as accurate and believable as the evening news on the big (least watched) 3 stations...A...N...C.
The 2nd Amendment was ratified on December 17, 1791 A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
keep and bear ARMS all any type shall not be infringed...any type of gun regulation is infringement...Read history...Hitler enacted gun cards, then regulated firearms, more restrictions till the German people were disarmed....sorry not happening here!!!
The Founding Fathers on firearms..."The right of the people to keep and bear...arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country..." (James Madison, I Annals of Congress 434 [June 8, 1789])
"...to disarm the people - that was the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
AlexCoe
1.7 / 5 (17) Jan 29, 2013
Did ANY of you notice who did the study?
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Does that name ring a bell in gun control circles?

All this gun control talk is useless to reduce the random mass shooters.
The mental health system needs to nut up and do their jobs. Almost all of them were on medication, sombody had to write the script for it. Do you think they were a danger?
VendicarE
2.7 / 5 (9) Jan 29, 2013
It is pretty clear from the gun Grubber responses here that they are not intelligent or trustworthy enough to be permitted to own a gun.

The U.S. long outdated Constitution is just another book of the bible to them, and they will defend it to their dying days even though it has caused more death than almost any other document in history.

We will remove their guns, but we will do it drip by drip by drip.

And then once they are disarmed we will modifiy the constitution on the basis that is no longer reflects reality.

In doing so, the lives of thousands of Americans will be saved every year from gun grubber murderers.

Praise God.
VendicarE
2.9 / 5 (8) Jan 29, 2013
No, but clearly they must be pure evil.

"Did ANY of you notice who did the study?" - Alex Coe

Oh, it was a panel of doctors.

Yup... Pure Evil.

The Next American Civil War
http://canadafree...le/51977
Eikka
2 / 5 (8) Jan 29, 2013
I am also baffled as to the reasoning behind banning certain rifles simply because they look similar to ones in military use.


A reason could be that those weapons sometimes are converted civilian versions of the military weapons, or imitations thereof, and can be easily converted back to select-fire operation with parts ordered online.

Another reason is that with people owning and carrying guns that look like military weapons, you can't see at a distance whether you're up against a full-auto assault rifle or someone's hunting rifle that's simply made to look like a military weapon. It also means that people can have proper military weapons around without anyone paying attention because they can't see the difference.

It's like allowing people to carry hollow hand grenades as jewelry. Once people are accustomed to having them around, it's easy to carry a live grenade without people running away.
Eikka
2.3 / 5 (9) Jan 29, 2013

The mental health system needs to nut up and do their jobs. Almost all of them were on medication, sombody had to write the script for it. Do you think they were a danger?


The real question is, are the doctors even allowed to know if someone has a gun as they are treating patients and writing prescriptions?

A person may own a gun before they become mentally ill, or purchase one before they are diagnosed as ill, and if there's no way to take that gun away form him or even know that he owns it, it's pointless to point fingers at anyone except the people who constantly cockblock these regulations in the government and prevent the police, doctors, the ATF and others from doing something about it.

Claudius
1.5 / 5 (18) Jan 29, 2013
The real question is, are the doctors even allowed to know if someone has a gun as they are treating patients and writing prescriptions?


An even better question is why are doctors allowed to prescribe an anti-depressant medication that increases suicidal behavior?

Also, there is real interference with the doctor-patient relationship in the scenario being proposed in which doctors pry into what their patients regard as being none of their business.
VendicarE
3.5 / 5 (6) Jan 29, 2013
It would be a very good idea is guns would be removed from the hands of the mentally unfit.

Doing so would essentially prohibit Tea Baggers and other Conservative inferiors from owing them.

full_disclosure
1.3 / 5 (16) Jan 29, 2013
The 'Coward Herr Vendicar' has childishly changed his personal login profile, slightly to avoid people following his name back through past comments..... Anyone interested in his cowardly death threats towards posters in the past comments section, follow them through the link below.

http://phys.org/p...ndicarD/
VendicarE
3.7 / 5 (6) Jan 29, 2013
Full_Diaper is clearly mentally unfit.

In America Chillen is learned in hows to readen, writen, and Runnen from Gunfire, just like dey doez in every third world hell hole.

CHICAGO (CBS) — A school shooting drill planned for tomorrow in the far northwestern suburbs has many parents upset.
According to a letter from Cary-Grove High School principal Jay Sargeant, there will be a code red drill at the school on Wednesday.

It will include somebody shooting blanks from a gun in the hallway "in an effort to provide our teachers and students some familiarity with the sound of gunfire."
ryggesogn2
1.5 / 5 (16) Jan 29, 2013
A father of one of the Newtown murder victims stated new gun laws are NOT needed, and supported more vigorous enforcement of existing laws. (But this is NOT what CNN reported. What a surprise, CNN lied to promote an agenda.)
When the govt does a bad job enforcing current laws why would anyone expect they would be any better an enforcing more laws?
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (13) Jan 29, 2013
"Parent of Sandy Hook Dead Child Speaks Out Against Gun Control"
http://www.mrcons...aks-out/

Fox News reports, you decide.

CNN decided for you.
VendicarE
4 / 5 (4) Jan 30, 2013
He also said that America was a murderous and uncivilized nation.

"A father of one of the Newtown murder victims stated new gun laws are NOT needed" - RyggTard

But most of the other family members are vastly smarter than he is...

http://video.toda...50456017
Steven_Anderson
1.7 / 5 (13) Feb 02, 2013
People that commit mass murder with guns (or any other means for that matter) would not be able to pass an extensive psychological exam. Also, most mass murderers are under the age of 30. So a simple solution would be to not allow anyone to purchase and bring home weapons till the age of 30. (Exceptions for military, police, security) and those with extensive and specific reasons for carrying their guns. Here is a "We the People petition" on the subject. Please read, sign, and leave comments. It needs 100k votes to be publicly addressed by the White House. http://rawcell.com (front page --first petition listed)