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.