Most Americans back gun lobby, right to use deadly force

Daily News Article   —   Posted on April 18, 2012

(Deborah Charles, Reuters.com) – Most Americans support the right to use deadly force to protect themselves – even in public places – and have a favorable view of the National Rifle Association (NRA), the main gun-lobby group, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed.

The online survey showed that 68 percent, or two out of three respondents, had a favorable opinion of the NRA, which starts its annual convention in St. Louis, Missouri, on Friday.

Eighty-two percent of Republicans saw the gun lobbying group in a positive light as well as 55 percent of Democrats, findings that run counter to the perception of Democrats as anti-NRA.

Most of the 1,922 people surveyed nationwide from April 9th – 12th (2012) said they supported laws that allow Americans to use deadly force to protect themselves from danger in their own home or in a public place. …

The poll was conducted amid a nationwide debate over gun rights and race after the Florida shooting of an unarmed black teenager, Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood crime watch volunteer who is white and Hispanic.

The poll results were welcomed by the NRA, which … regularly clashes with anti-gun groups and often with Democrats as it seeks to protect and expand gun rights across the United States.

“Regardless of how others try to distort our position, the general public knows where we stand,” said NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam. “It shows the failure of the continuing efforts of many to try and discredit the National Rifle Association.”

The NRA host[ed] Republican presidential candidate and likely nominee Mitt Romney as a speaker at its convention on Friday.

Eighty-seven percent of respondents – with high numbers among both Republicans and Democrats – supported the use of deadly force to protect themselves from danger in their home.

Two-thirds said they backed laws permitting the use of deadly force to protect themselves in public. (Link to poll: here)

Ninety-one percent of those who responded to the survey agreed on the need for background checks before a firearm can be sold. Only 6 percent said they thought gun ownership should require no, or very few restrictions.

Nearly three-quarters of respondents said they supported limiting the sale of automatic weapons, and 62 percent oppose bringing firearms into churches, workplaces or stores. …

Nearly half of those surveyed felt crime rates were rising where they lived – even though FBI statistics show that violent crime has declined for the past 4 1/2 years.

As a result, 85 percent of those polled said they did not believe police could stop all crime and 77 percent felt regular people had to “step up” to help prevent crime from happening.

The survey included 650 Republicans, 752 Democrats and 520 independents. The precision of the Reuters/Ipsos online poll is measured using a credibility interval and this poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points for all respondents.

Reprinted here for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission from Thomson Reuters. Visit the website at Reuters.com.


Questions

1.  List the results for the following from the Reuters poll:
a)  percent of Americans who have a favorable opinion of the National Rifle Association (NRA)
b)  percent of Democrats who have a favorable opinion of the National Rifle Association
c)  percent of Republicans who have a favorable opinion of the National Rifle Association
d)  percent of Americans who support the use of deadly force to protect themselves from danger in their home
e)  percent of Americans who support laws permitting the use of deadly force to protect themselves from danger in public

2.  a) What percent of respondents agreed on the need for background checks before a firearm can be sold?
b)  What percent of respondents said they thought gun ownership should require no, or very few restrictions?

3.  What percent of respondents support limiting the sale of automatic weapons?
b)  What percent of respondents oppose bringing firearms into churches, workplaces or stores?
c)  What percent of respondents think regular people have to “step up” to help prevent crime from happening?

4.  What is your response to each of the poll questions in #1-3?

5.  a) What type of gun laws does your state have?  
b)  Do you think your state’s gun laws are too strict or too lax? Explain your answer.

CHALLENGE QUESTION:  Regarding people’s attitudes about gun rights, background checks for gun purchases, self-defense and the use of deadly force:  Do you think attitudes are more likely to be similar in ideological groups (conservatives vs. liberals, Republicans vs. Democrats) or by urban (cities) vs. rural areas, or by the Northeastern part of the country and California vs. the South, Southwest, Midwest etc., or men vs. women

6.  a) Which presidential candidate supports your view on this issue?  Would this affect your vote?  Explain your answer.
b)  In your state, which candidates for Congress support your view on this issue?  Would this affect your vote?  Explain your answer.


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Background

View StudentNewsDaily’s Conservative vs Liberal Beliefs Chart
With which position on each issue do you most often agree?

Resources

Read the gun rights poll results at: ipsos-na.com/news-polls/pressrelease.aspx?id=5586