HPU Poll: North Carolinians Favor Gun Rights But Support Some Regulations

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HIGH POINT, N.C., March 2, 2016 – The latest High Point University Poll finds that a majority – 57 percent – of North Carolinians say that protecting the constitutional right of citizens to own guns is more important than protecting citizens from gun violence. Large majorities also supported a range of other proposals to reduce gun violence, including requiring additional criminal background checks and improving enforcement of existing gun laws. Smaller majorities of state residents also supported banning high capacity ammunition clips, providing services for mentally ill people who show violent tendencies and banning sale of ammunition online.

The HPU Poll asked North Carolinians about a list of possible approaches to reducing gun violence. Eighty-nine percent supported requiring criminal background checks on all gun buyers, including those buying at gun shows and through private sales. Eighty-eight percent supported providing services for mentally ill people who show violent tendencies. And 84 percent supported improving enforcement of existing gun laws. All these findings were very similar to findings in an HPU Poll in February 2013.

Not all proposals received majority support. Forty-two percent favored reducing access to violent movies and video games, while 52 percent did not. Forty-five percent supported allowing teachers and school officials to carry guns on school grounds while 48 percent opposed that proposal.

“Our HPU Polls keep finding similar things about North Carolinians beliefs about guns,” says Dr. Martin Kifer, assistant professor of political science and director of the HPU Poll. “As a group, people of our state tend to emphasize gun rights, but there are areas where there is a lot of agreement about some concrete measures to address gun violence.”

HPU Poll - Gun rights - Feb. 2016

All Adults: Gun Rights and Protecting Citizens from Violence

Which is more important: protecting the constitutional right of citizens to own guns or protecting citizens from gun violence?

Protecting the constitutional right of citizens to own guns – 57 percent
Protecting citizens from gun violence – 35 percent
Don’t know/refuse – 8 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed February 18 – 25, n = 476 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.5 percent)

 

Favor or oppose gun violence proposalsHPU Poll - Background checks for gun buyers - Feb. 2016

I am going to read a series of proposals to reduce gun violence. Do you favor or oppose each of the following proposals to reduce gun violence? (ORDER OF PROPOSALS WAS RANDOMIZED)

 

Requiring criminal background checks on all gun buyers, including those buying at gun shows and private sales:
Favor – 89 percent, Oppose – 8 percent, Don’t know/refuse – 3 percent

 

Providing services for mentally ill people who show violent tendencies:
Favor – 88 percent, Oppose – 7 percent, Don’t know/refuse – 5 percent

 

Improving enforcement of existing gun laws:
Favor – 84 percent, Oppose – 11 percent, Don’t know/refuse – 5 percent

 

Banning high-capacity ammunition clips that can shoot dozens of bullets without stopping to reload:
Favor – 56 percent, Oppose – 40 percent, Don’t know/refuse – 4 percent

 

Banning the sale of ammunition online:
Favor – 53 percent, Oppose – 42 percent, Don’t know/refuse – 5 percent

 

Banning assault style weapons:HPU Poll - Teachers carrying guns - Feb. 2016
Favor – 52 percent, Oppose – 42 percent, Don’t know/refuse – 6 percent

 

Reducing access to violent movies and video games:
Favor – 42 percent, Oppose – 52 percent, Don’t know/refuse – 6 percent

 

Allowing teachers and school officials to carry guns on school grounds:
Favor – 45 percent, Oppose – 48 percent, Don’t know/refuse – 7 percent

 

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed February 18 – 25, n = 476 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.5 percent)

 

The most recent HPU Poll was fielded by live interviewers at the High Point University Survey Research Center calling on Feb. 18 – 25, 2016. The responses from a sample of all North Carolina counties came from 476 adults with landline or cellular telephones. The Survey Research Center contracted with Survey Sampling International to acquire this sample. The survey has an estimated margin of sampling error of approximately 4.5 percentage points for all adult respondents. The data is weighted toward population estimates for cellular and landline telephone use, age, gender and race. In addition to sampling error, factors such as question wording and other methodological choices in conducting survey research can introduce additional error into the findings of opinion polls. Details from this survey are available at  http://www.highpoint.edu/src/files/2016/03/44memoCO.pdf.
Further results and methodological details from the most recent survey and past studies can be found at the Survey Research Center website at http://www.highpoint.edu/src/. The materials online include past press releases as well as memos summarizing the findings (including approval ratings) for each poll since 2010.

The HPU Poll reports methodological details in accordance with the standards set out by AAPOR’s Transparency Initiative, and the HPU Survey Research Center is a Charter Member of the Initiative. For more information, see http://transparency.aapor.org/index.php/transparency.

You can follow the HPU Poll on Twitter at https://twitter.com/HPUSurveyCenter. Dr. Martin Kifer, assistant professor of political science, serves as the director of the HPU Poll, and Brian McDonald serves as the assistant director of the HPU Poll.

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