PEW Research reports in a new survey that 85% of Americans fabor making private gun sales and sales at gun shows subject to background checks.
The level of support from Republicans, Democrats and Independents was uniform. Party lines came together again in common ground with support for laws to prevent mentally ill people from purchasing guns.
Bipartisan concensus breaks down on remaining proposals writes PEW.
Two-thirds of Amricans support the creation of a federal database to track gun sales but the majority comes from 84% of Democrats and only 49% of Republicans.
Democrats are also more likely (69%) than Republicans (44%) to favor a ban on assault-style weapons. There is also partisan disagreement on banning high-capacity ammunition clips or the sale of ammunition online.
Young Adults & Guns
Even though young people tend to be more anti-gun, they report wanting to own a gun in greater numbers than those who grew up in a household with guns present.
An October 2012 survey of high school and university students revealed an interesting paradox.
Researcher Jennifer Lawless, a professor of government at American University, told Live Science that violent shooting incidents in schools may be affecting attitudes of the students.
In 2010, 32.3 percent of homes in America reported owning a gun, down from a peak of 54 percent in 1977, according to a 2011 report by the Violence Policy Center.
When asked if they plan on having a gun in their own home as an adult, 32 percent of high-schoolers and 43 percent of college students said yes, an unexpected statistic. Another 28 percent of high-schoolers and 17 percent of college students said they’d “maybe” have a gun in their homes as adults.
Males were more iikely to want to own guns than females. Black students were less likely than whites to report wanting to own a firearm as adults.
In a troubling finding, students who described themselves as “depressed,” “stressed out” or having trouble making friends (about half of the sample reported one of these) were more likely to want to own a gun. So were people who reported playing more than four hours of video games each day. Though the study doesn’t suggest that avid gamers are likely to become homicidal, these isolated and depressed traits might be risk factors for someone more likely than most to do harm to themselves or others, Lawless told LiveScience.
“If the people who are playing video games more than four hours and are somewhat isolated, who are somewhat depressed, are also more likely to believe they would own a gun in the future, we need to make sure we have background checks in place and mental health checks in place to ensure that these people have the ability to have these kind of guns,” she said.
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NRA endorses own video game for iOS USA Today
Just weeks after accusing the video game industry of perpetuating violent tendencies in American culture, the National Rifle Association released a free game titled NRA: Practice Range. (Note that the Apple app link via Google is now broken.)
Last December, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre slammed a push for gun control following the school shooting in Newtown, laying part of the blame on “vicious, violent video games.”
Releasing the game yesterday on the one month anniversary of the Newton massacre in which 20 children died, the NRA initially recommended the game for four year olds and older.
The NRA’s membership has spiked by 250,000 people since the Newtown shootings, although gun control advocates dispute the claims. That brings its membership to more than 4.2 million. Note that a large majority of NRA members support changes in gun laws that the NRA leadership does not.
New York’s New Gun Law
New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed on Tuesday (today) the toughest gun control law in America and the first since the Newton, Conn school massacre. In pressing hard for passage of the bill, Cuomo likened gun control to a public health issue, reports TIME.
“This is a scourge on society,” Cuomo said Monday night, six days after making gun control a centerpiece of his State of the State address. The bipartisan effort was fueled by the Newtown tragedy that took the lives of 20 first graders and six educators. “At what point do you say, `No more innocent loss of life’?”
The new law passed the Assembly 104-43 calls for restrictions on ammunition and the sale of guns. The law also expands the definition of assault weapons.
Under current state law, assault weapons are defined by having two “military rifle” features such as folding stock, muzzle flash suppressor or bayonet mount. The proposal reduces that to one feature and includes the popular pistol grip.
People owning firearms now banned by law are expected to register the guns with the police.
Gabby Giffords Takes on Guns
On the second anniversary of a mass shooting in Arizona that targeted former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, the now retired politician and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, launched a political action committee, Americans for Responsible Solutions.
“Special interests purporting to represent gun owners but really advancing the interests of an ideological fringe have used big money and influence to cow Congress into submission,” they write.
The couple are both gun owners and represent a growing number of like-minded people who argue that sensible gun regulation doesn’t present an “existential threat to individual liberties.” CNN reports extensively on the couple’s comments.
McChrystal backs ‘serious’ gun laws
Retired Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the former top commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said Monday that he supports “serious action” to curb the nation’s gun violence, including an assault weapons ban.
“I spent a career carrying, typically either a M16 and later, a M4 carbine,” McChrystal said. “And an M4 carbine fires a .223 caliber round, which is 5.56 millimeters, at about 3,000 feet per second. When it hits a human body, the effects are devastating. It’s designed to do that. And that’s what our soldiers ought to carry.” via Washington Post