Gun-Control Views Unchanged After Shooting, Says Pew Poll

Gun Control Views Don’t Change in Pew Poll Even After Shooting
An attendee checks the price on a handgun at the Rocky Mountain Gun Show in Sandy, Utah. Photographer: George Frey/Bloomberg

The July 20 shooting in Aurora, Colorado, that claimed 12 lives hasn’t significantly altered Americans’ views on gun regulations, according to a Pew Research Center poll.

The July 26-29 survey found that 47 percent of Americans say controlling guns is the priority, while 46 percent say it’s more important to protect the right to own guns. That is little changed from an April poll, when 45 percent placed the most importance on gun control and 49 percent on gun rights.

Neither President Barack Obama nor presumed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has called for wide-ranging new gun laws, perhaps reflecting the stalemate among Americans. Romney last week rejected the idea that new limits would help avoid such tragedies; Obama on July 25 said a “consensus around violence reduction” must be reached.

While there has been little change since early 2009, most Americans before that time consistently said controlling gun ownership was a higher priority, Pew said. Still, the research center found no major increase in support for gun control after the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings.

More Americans now say that movie theater shootings such as the one in Colorado are just isolated acts “of troubled individuals.” In the latest poll, 67 percent agreed with that statement; in April 2007, just 47 percent did, and 46 percent said they reflected “broader problems” in society.

Positions on the issue tend to reflect party alliances, Pew said. Republicans favor gun rights 71 percent to 26 percent, while Democrats back gun control 72 percent to 21 percent.

The Pew poll included 1,010 adults.

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