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24 Jan, 2013 13:42

Nine out of 10 Americans back Obama gun regulations - poll

Nine out of 10 Americans back Obama gun regulations - poll

A sweeping majority of citizens support Obama’s initiative to install new gun laws in the US, a new Gallup poll reveals. Two thirds go as far as supporting restrictions likely to usher heated debate between Democrats and Republicans in Congress.

A ban is a major point of division between Democrats and Republicans which is likely to usher heated confrontation in Congress.When given a chance to have their say on each of nine key proposals, made by US president Barack Obama, most respondents supported all nine. Interestingly, none of the participants knew they had actually been walked through the presidential proposals. The strongest 'thumbs-up' was for the requirement for criminal background checks for all gun sales – 91 per cent of Americans say it's necessary. Eighty-two per cent believe the government should spend more on mental health programs for youth. Almost the same number of people – 79 per cent – say police officers and first responders should receive much better training to know what to do in cases of active armed attacks.

When asked to prioritize between gun laws and school security/mental health measures, most Gallup respondents still opted for the latter.

Seventy-five per cent favor increasing criminal penalties for so-called 'straw purchasers', people who buy guns for others restricted from having weapons of their own. Currently, no federal laws specifically outlaw straw purchasing. Offenders typically face probation for paperwork violations, while the arms obtained are already at large.More than two thirds of Americans say armor-piercing bullets must be banned from open sale, reserved for members of the military and law enforcement only. The same support was received by the proposal to bring resurrect, maybe even in a more aggressive form, the 1994-2004 assault weapons ban. Notably, it's not the first time that Gallup has questioned people about the proposed gun violence regulations. Similar research took place last week, only Obama's plan was brought forth in one package. That poll only attracted 53 per cent of sympathizers. Either something affected public opinion in the space of a week or the plan looks more readable when broken into separate pieces. At the same time, the 54 per cent in favor of limiting gun magazines to maximum 10 rounds is a lower number than that in December (62 per cent) when the same question was worded somewhat differently. The devil is in the details, they say, and sometimes you need those details described to get the devil out. The results of the poll are based on phone interviews carried out January 19-20, when Gallup talked to 1,013 random adults aged 18 and older, living in all 50 US states and the District of Columbia. Now that Obama has put forward his suggestions of how gun violence can be reduced in the US, it’s Congress’ turn to look closer into it and prioritize, and it's a good chance the proposals will be considered separately. Democrats are now showing more support for each proposal than Republicans, still majorities of both partisan groups seem united on seven of the nine articles. The only two proposals they dramatically differ on are the ones about banning sales of guns or ammunition, backed by Democrats, but rejected by Republicans.The mass shooting at Sandy Hook school in Connecticut, which saw 26 people killed last month, shattered American society and raised the question of weapons regulation to a whole new level. Public debates have been raging ever since as to whether it is safer with a gun or without. Gun advocates like the National Rifle Association (NRA) say it’s exactly the weapons that ensure a person's security. Frequent bloody shootings across the country make many people doubt that is true. Obama has stepped forward with 23 executive orders on the matter as well as a package of proposals to be put before Congress. Now it's up to the American lawmakers to decide how they will contribute to increased American safety.