Behind the Numbers
Posted at 11:26 AM ET, 07/22/2009

Concealed Weapons an Ideological Showdown

The Senate today will take up an amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill from South Dakota senator John Thune that would let gun owners with concealed carry permits to take their firearms across state lines, if those states allow them.

In a 2008 CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll and one by ABC News in 2007, most Americans said they opposed to a general ban on carrying concealed weapons. In the ABC poll conducted just after the shootings at Virginia Tech, 55 percent said they were against a national ban on concealed guns. (The most recent read on state-level bans, from a May 2001 poll conducted by the National Opinion Research Center and Johns Hopkins University's Center for Gun Policy, found that 46 percent said any adult who passed a background check and a gun safety course should be allowed to get a concealed carry permit.)

In the ABC data, conservatives were most apt to oppose a national ban, with three-quarters against it, outpacing opposition even among gun owners themselves (66 percent opposed). Among liberal and moderate respondents, half (50 percent) said they supported a countrywide ban.

On this question, partisan divides were less drastic than the ideological ones, which could prove problematic for the Senate Democrats hoping to quash the amendment. A narrow majority of both Democrats (53 percent) and Republicans (52 percent) said they opposed a ban. But Republicans are more apt to strongly oppose the policy (38 percent compared with 30 percent among Democrats), and Democrats are much more likely to strongly favor it (35 percent compared with 22 percent among Republicans). Nearly six in 10 independents (59 percent) said they would oppose the ban.

Q. Would you support or oppose a law requiring a nationwide ban on people carrying a concealed weapon? Do you feel that way strongly, or only somewhat?

            -- Support ---   -- Oppose ---
            NET    Strngly   NET   Strngly
All         42        28     55       35

Democrat    44        35     53       30
Independent 38        25     59       39
Republican  45        22     52       38

Gun owners  30        20     66       45
All others  52        35     45       26

Lib/Mod     50        32     45       20
Conserv     23        17     75       57

SOURCE: ABC News poll, conducted April 22, 2007 among a random national sample of 394 adults.

By Jennifer Agiesta  |  11:26 AM ET, 07/22/2009

Categories:  Crosstabs, Crosstabs, Crosstabs

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