HPU Poll: NC Residents Agree on Many Proposals to Reduce Gun Violence

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HIGH POINT, N.C., Nov. 14, 2017 – A High Point University Poll finds that North Carolinians are split over which is more important – protecting the constitutional right to own guns or protecting citizens from gun violence. However, large majorities also supported a range of other proposals to reduce gun violence, including expanding criminal background checks for gun buyers, improving enforcement of existing laws and providing services for mentally ill people who show violent tendencies.

The HPU Poll asked North Carolinians about a list of possible approaches to reducing gun violence. Ninety-two percent say they favor requiring criminal background checks on all gun buyers, including those buying at gun shows and through private sales. In a March 2016 HPU Poll, 89 percent of North Carolina residents favored the same proposal.

In the most recent HPU Poll, 91 percent of those surveyed say they favor providing services for mentally ill people who show violent tendencies. Eighty-eight percent of North Carolinians supported that same proposal in 2016.

Similar proportions of North Carolinians in 2017 (88 percent) and 2016 (84 percent) said they support improving enforcement of existing gun laws.

In both the 2017 and 2016 polls, majorities also favored banning high capacity ammunition clips, assault style weapons and the sale of ammunition online. Respondents were split on whether reducing access to violent movies and video games would help reduce gun violence.

The 2017 poll included a proposed ban on “bump stocks” that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire more like they are fully automatic. Almost three-quarters (74 percent) of North Carolinians favor that proposal.

And when asked whether they would support a federal licensing requirement for people to legally own guns, 83 percent of North Carolina residents say they are in favor.

“The slight uptick in support for additional measures to reduce gun violence may be attributed to the most recent high profile mass shootings,” says Dr. Brandon Lenoir, assistant professor of strategic communication at HPU. “The most recent poll took place in the weeks following the Las Vegas shooting, and that’s likely the reason for the support to ban the ‘bump-stock’ modification for semi-automatic rifles.”

 

 

All adults – Right to own guns or protection from gun violence (October/November 2017)

Now I would like to ask you some questions about guns. 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 – 45 percent

Protecting citizens from gun violence – 42 percent

(Don’t know/refuse) – 13 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed Oct. 27 – Nov. 4, 2017, n = 352 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 5.2 percent)

 

All adults – Favor or oppose federal gun licenses (October/November 2017)

Do you favor or oppose the federal government requiring people to get a license in order to legally own a gun?

Favor – 83 percent

Oppose – 15 percent

(Don’t know/refuse) – 2 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed Oct. 27 – Nov. 4, 2017, n = 352 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 5.2 percent)

 

All adults – Proposals to reduce gun violence (October/November 2017)

Do you favor or oppose each of the following proposals to reduce gun violence? 

Requiring criminal background checks on all gun buyers, including those buying at gun shows and private sales

Favor – 92 percent

Oppose – 5 percent

(Don’t know/refuse) – 3 percent

 

Providing services for mentally ill people who show violent tendencies

Favor – 91 percent

Oppose – 7 percent

(Don’t know/refuse) – 3 percent

 

Improving enforcement of existing gun laws

Favor – 88 percent

Oppose – 8 percent

(Don’t know/refuse) – 3 percent

 

Banning so-called “bump stocks” that can allow a semi-automatic gun to fire more like a fully automatic

Favor – 74 percent

Oppose – 21 percent

(Don’t know/refuse) – 5 percent

 

Banning high-capacity ammunition clips that can shoot dozens of bullets without stopping to reload

Favor – 71 percent

Oppose – 26 percent

(Don’t know/refuse) – 3 percent

 

Banning assault style weapons

Favor – 62 percent

Oppose – 33 percent

(Don’t know/refuse) – 5 percent

 

Banning the sale of ammunition online

Favor – 61 percent

Oppose – 34 percent

(Don’t know/refuse) – 5 percent

 

Reducing access to violent movies and video games

Favor – 48 percent

Oppose – 47 percent

(Don’t know/refuse) – 6 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed Oct. 27 – Nov. 4, 2017, n = 352 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 5.2 percent)

 

The most recent HPU Poll was fielded by live interviewers at the High Point University Survey Research Center calling on Oct. 27 – Nov. 4, 2017. The responses from a sample of all North Carolina counties came from 352 adults with landline or cellular telephones. The survey has an estimated margin of sampling error of approximately 5.2 percentage points for all adult respondents. The data is weighted toward population estimates for cellular and landline telephone use, age, gender, race, education, and party identification. 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/2017/11/54memoA.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, department chair and associate professor of political science, serves as the director of the HPU Poll, and Brian McDonald serves as the associate director of the HPU Poll and an adjunct professor of survey research methods.

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