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Thursday, April 13, 2017

New Quinnipiac University Poll Addresses Gun Issues in Virginia

WTVR CBS 6 reports that a new Quinnipiac University poll shows that a substantial number of respondents support background checks for all gun buyers and reinstatement of handgun rationing:
The poll found that 94 to 5 percent, of voters, including 90 to 8 percent among Republicans, want the background checks.

Voters also support 62 to 32 percent a Virginia law, repealed in 2012, which limited a person to buying only one handgun per month, as opposed to current law which has no limit on handgun purchases.

Republicans oppose the limit 57 to 39 percent.

White men are divided, with 46 percent supporting the limit and 50 percent opposed. Every other listed party, gender, educational, age and racial group supports the limit on handgun purchases.

Virginia voter attitudes on other gun issues, according to the poll, are:
  • Support 54 – 41 percent stricter gun laws in the state;
  • 49 percent say it’s too easy to buy a gun in Virginia, while 2 percent say it’s too difficult and 38 percent say it’s “about right;”
  • Voters say 66 – 23 percent that new gun laws will not interfere with the right to own guns;
  • If more people carried guns, Virginia would be less safe, 53 percent of voters say, while 35 percent say it would be safer.
“Many observers have commented about how much Virginia has changed politically from its deep red history to a leaning Democratic hue in little more than a decade,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

“They generally cite the Democrats’ ability to carry the state in the most recent presidential, U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races. But what also seems to be lining up in the Democratic column is Virginia voters’ values on some hot-button issues.”
When I see polls about back ground checks, I always want to see the actual question that was asked.  In this case, there was no additional information given, just a generic question:
31. Do you support or oppose requiring background checks for all gun buyers?
Given the actual question, I'm not surprised the number is so high.  It would be interesting to see where those numbers would fall if the poll had given some background before asking the question.  Knowing that so-called "universal" background checks barely got 51% support in Nevada last election and failed to pass in Maine, being informed on exactly what "background checks for all gun buyers" entails makes a big difference.  The same could be said for the question about stricter gun laws.  It was a one line question with no context.  Nothing was said about Virginia having crime rates that are at all time lows.  So, exactly what did those polls think stricter laws would accomplish?

The poll does indicate some important trends however.  Several years ago, VSSA members heard then Delegate and VSSA member Bill Janis at a VSSA Annual Meeting, discuss the changing demographics of the Commonwealth and what that would mean for our firearm freedoms going forward.  The trends on the "hot-button issues" that were part of this poll, including gun control, seem to confirm what Janis predicted at that meeting - that we need to come to grips that Virginia will change and we need to change with it.  Our parent organization, the NRA, has already moved in that direction by adding faces like National and World Champion Shooter Julie Golob,  Latino shooter Gabby Franco, and Colion Noir, a black pro-rights activist, to the faces spreading the NRA message.  We need to go beyond the "old white-guy" if we are going to preserve our freedoms.

I'll be on at 3:40 today talking about the poll with Cam Edwards of NRANews' Cam and Company.


m444ss said...

I wasn't aware the the decision to infringe supposedly inalienable rights was a matter to be decided by public opinion.

Jutland Moving Sale said...

I couldn't agree more with the author's conclusion: "We need to go beyond the "old white-guy" if we are going to preserve our freedoms." I cringe when I see pictures of NRA meetings and the general (historical) tactics of the NRA. It strikes me that NRA "preaches to the choir" too much and this other notion of "no compromise" that I hear is just too polarizing. What needs to be done is to CONVERT the "other side" on the 2A and recreational and defensive shooting in general. Putting up gauntlets is not the way to convert public opinion. There is also too much duplication of effort with so many gun rights organizations vying for the same membership and membership dollars which can have the effect of actually diluting the overall effort. The 2A is a natural and federal law of the land and the effort should be (mostly) fought at that level to PREEMPT states from usurping it. Every time a state legislature changes direction and/or some wealthy demigod thinks he can influence politicians it threatens these rights. Colion Noir is one bright spot here, but he should be talking to a broader audience.

Nigel Houghton said...

"49 percent say it’s too easy to buy a gun in Virginia, while 2 percent say it’s too difficult and 38 percent say it’s “about right;”"

What percentage of those questioned have either tried to buy a gun or have actually bought guns in Virginia? There are many people I speak to who have no idea what happens or even how to buy a gun who think you can just walk in to the store, pick one off the shelf and buy it like you're in a grocery store.