Poll: Stricter gun laws would not have stopped Navy Yard shooter

Posted at 10:07 AM, Oct 02, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-02 10:07:28-04

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Support for background checks for all gun-buyers remains high, but more than six in 10 American voters say tougher gun laws would not have prevented last month’s Washington Navy Yard Shooting, according to a new poll.

The Quinnipiac University survey released Wednesday also indicates two-thirds of voters support Starbucks’ recent request for customers not to bring guns into their stores.

The gun control debate saw renewed attention in last month after Colorado voters recalled two Democratic state senators who supported the state’s unpopular new gun laws, and after a gunman killed 12 people at the Navy Yard in a deadly mass shooting.

Also in September, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz publicly asked gun owners not to bring their weapons when they buy their coffee, even though the company has policy of allowing them to do so where permitted by state law. Schultz made the announcement after a group of gun owners announced plans online for a “Starbucks Appreciation Day” in recognition of the chain’s policy, sparking a PR nightmare for the company.

Gun control also came up in Missouri, where lawmakers failed to override governor’s veto on a bill that would have let residents own a machine gun, and in Iowa, where people who are legally blind were granted permits to buy and carry firearms.

Among the 66% who support Schultz’s plea, 52% live in gun households, according to the survey. Fifteen percent say the request makes them more likely to go to Starbucks for coffee, while 11% say less likely and 72% it doesn’t make a difference.

As for gun control laws, a slight majority of voters support stricter firearm regulations, 54%-41%. Zooming in to just voters who live in gun households, the number flips; 56% oppose new laws, while 40% favor them.

While the September 16 Navy Yard shooting briefly amplified the gun control debate, calls for new laws quickly quieted down as Congress became more consumed with trying to avert the government shutdown.

“Americans somewhat favor more gun control but more than three in five say stricter gun control would not have stopped the Washington Navy Yard shooter,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Meanwhile, support for background checks for all gun-buyers still remains sky-high at 89%, essentially unchanged from several Quinnipiac polls conducted after the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in December that left 20 children and six adults killed.

Among those who favor background checks, 88% live in gun households, according to the survey.

Despite the strong public support, the Senate fell short of the votes needed to proceed with gun legislation in April that would have required background checks for firearm purchases online and at gun shows.

Quinnipiac surveyed 1,497 registered voters by telephone from September 23-29. The poll has a sampling error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

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