Poll: Virginians favor gun control laws, doubt their effectiveness
Virginians favor many gun control regulations while they think that better enforcement of existing laws is more likely to prevent gun violence. And, they do not blame lax gun laws for mass shootings, according to The Roanoke College Poll. The poll interviewed 583 Virginia residents between Jan. 14 and Jan. 22 and has a margin of error of +/-4.1 percent. Residents were asked a series of questions about guns and gun violence.
Residents were asked their thoughts regarding the causes of mass shootings. The most common response was poor policies to deal with mental illness (56%), followed by an inability to stop those who want to kill others (38%), violence in the media, such as video games, TV and movies (28%), poor enforcement of gun laws (26%) and weak gun laws (21%).
A majority of those surveyed (62%) favor having armed security at schools to make them safer. A majority (58%) opposes allowing teachers and administrators to carry firearms in schools. Fully half (50%) of those interviewed said that stricter gun control laws would make no difference to their personal safety, while one-third (34%) said stricter laws would make them more safe, and 12 percent said they would make them less safe.
When asked if they favored banning a variety of different types of firearms, a majority (58%) favored banning “assault rifles.” Virginians are evenly split regarding banning all semi-automatic rifles (48% favor, 46% oppose), and marginally oppose banning semi-automatic handguns (42% favor, 50% oppose) and semi-automatic shotguns (41% favor, 50% oppose). Only 16 percent of those interviewed favor banning all guns. A ban on all magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds was favored by 53 percent.
“While little here is startling, there are a few surprises,” said Dr. Harry Wilson, director of the Institute for Policy and Opinion Research and author of “Guns, Gun Control and Elections.” “Virginians at present favor expanding background checks, gun registration, and banning ‘assault rifles’ and magazines that can hold more than 10 round of ammunition. Yet, they are pessimistic that new laws will reduce gun violence.
“Gun owners support strengthening background checks, but oppose other types of regulations. It is interesting to note that while non-owners favor stricter laws, they share much of the gun owners’ skepticism regarding the utility of additional laws.”