Wide support for 'gun violence restraining orders'

May 30, 2014, 11:10 AM GMT+0

Support for stricter gun laws is high, including rules that would allow firearms to be confiscated from the mentally ill

Last weekend, 22-year-old Elliot Rodger killed six people and wounded another thirteen in Isla Vista, California, before taking his own life. His final statement said the shooting spree would be retribution for his social and sexual isolation and, in particular, the way that women had shunned him. Less than a month before, police visited Rodger after his parents raised concerns over his state of mind, but they determined that he didn't meet the strict criteria to involuntarily commit someone.

This has prompted lawmakers in California to consider creating 'gun violence restraining orders' that would bar people from buying or possessing guns if they are mentally troubled and their behaviour is reported to the authorities by friends of family.

The latest research from YouGov shows that most Americans (54%) back these gun restraining orders. There is a partisan divide on the issue, with Democrats overwhelmingly supportive of the orders (76%), but even Republicans narrowly tend to support (40%) rather than oppose (38%) such a law. There is far greater support for changing the law to require criminal and mental background checks whenever a gun is bought, with 79% saying that there should always be background checks and only 12% against.

Asked more broadly whether gun laws should be made more or less strict, Americans tend to support stricter gun laws. 49% want law to be made tougher and only 18% want them to be loosened. Democrats (75%) and Independents (45%) tend to support tougher laws, while Republicans (45%) tend to think that current laws are enough.

Full poll results can be found here.

Image: Getty