Gun control: now is the time to talk about it

January 14, 2013, 11:13 PM GMT+0

Americans support directing more money and attention to mental health issues, and banning assault weapons and large magazines, as a means to curb gun violence in the U.S., according to the latest YouGov Omnibus survey.

When asked to identify which ONE measure would most reduce tragic mass shootings – like that which took place a month ago in Newtown, Connecticut – respondents were divided between more money and attention going towards mental health issues (31%) and banning assault weapons and large magazines (29%). Smaller proportions supported registering guns in a way similar to how we currently register cars (13%) and making it harder to buy guns at gun shows (11%). Around one in six (16%) felt that “none of these” measures would be an effective way to curb gun violence in the U.S. This figure varied between 12% in the Northeast and 19% in the South.

In the wake of Vice President Joe Biden’s meeting with the National Rifle Association last week, 42% of the population believe that Joe Biden’s stance on gun control goes against the views of most Americans, and indeed that his views constitute an “attack on the second amendment”. Interestingly, just 31% of Americans believe that NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre’s stance is out of line with most Americans, though the poll reports a greater number of “don’t know” respondents to the latter statement, suggesting that the average American might just be less familiar with LaPierre’s detailed view on the matter.

With regard to the recent spat between British TV presenter Piers Morgan and the pro-gun lobby, 41% of the population view the online petition calling for Morgan’s deportation as “just a publicity stunt” which “should be ignored”, though one in five (21%) believe Morgan should be deported for attacking the second amendment. 42% agree that foreign residents of the U.S. shouldn’t get involved in American political debates. According to our Omnibus survey, half the population (50%) thinks the White House was right to respond to the petition, deeming it a “legitimate view among many Americans”.

However, half the population (51%) also believes that now is the time to discuss strengthening gun control, with the belief considerably higher among black and Hispanic respondents (67% and 60% respectively), and those who live in the northeast (62%).

Nearly one in three (30%) thinks the United States doesn’t have a gun control problem, with the view much higher among men than women (39% to 22%). Not surprisingly, this figure rises to 72% among those who are either a member of the NRA, or for whom someone else in their household is.

The YouGov Omnibus survey is a daily measure of public opinion that runs Monday through Friday among a nationally-representative sample of adults in the United States. Fieldwork for this poll was conducted January 11-13 2012. Full results can be downloaded here.

For further information about poll results, for details about methodology, or to have your questions added to our daily Omnibus survey, please email