2008 record      


The vast majority of the public says something other than insufficient gun laws was the main cause of the Florida high school shooting, which claimed the lives of 17 people. But the public nevertheless wants more gun control laws, including a ban on "assault weapons."

The poll found that just 22% say that insufficient gun laws are the main cause of mass shootings like the one that took place in Parkland, Fla.

Instead, 73% blame either mental health issues, or cultural degradation, or lack of enforcement of existing gun laws.

On a partisan basis, Republicans are most likely to blame mental health issues (45%), while more Democrats blame existing gun laws (38%) than mental health (25%).

Among those 18 to 24 years old, 44% blame mental health, while 27% blame current gun laws. Among Gen Xers, 34% blame mental health and 22% blame cultural degradation, with 20% blaming gun laws.

Even so, fully 70% of respondents back stricter gun control laws, while just 27% oppose them. Even among Republicans, nearly 48% back more gun control, as do 69% of independents. The poll found that 90% of Democrats want more gun control laws.

Regionally, gun control gets the least amount of support among those living in the Midwest (60%), followed by the West (68%), the South (72%) and the Northeast (78%).

Support for gun control also goes up with education levels, from 57% among those with a high school education to 75% for those with a college degree.

The poll also found that 62% support a nationwide ban on the sale of "assault weapons," such as the AR-15 used in the Florida mass shooting. Only 34% oppose a ban.

Republicans overwhelmingly oppose a ban, with 64% opposing and 33% backing one. Democrats overwhelmingly favor an assault weapons ban, by a margin of 88% to 10%.

A ban on assault weapons was actually in place for 10 years, from 1994 to 2004. Studies looking into its effectiveness showed the ban did not produce any measurable difference in gun deaths or gun violence.

The relationship between gun ownership and gun deaths isn't at all clear either. In fact, the rate of gun-related homicides was 49% lower in 2014 than it was in 1994, while the gun ownership rate climbed 56%.

Methodology: The March IBD/TIPP Poll was conducted on Feb. 22 to March 1. It includes responses from 901 people nationwide, who were asked questions by live interviewers on phones. The poll's margin of error is +/-3.3 percentage points.

The IBD/TIPP Poll has been credited as being the most accurate poll in the past four presidential elections, and was one of only two that correctly predicted the outcome of the November presidential election.

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