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Public Opinion Favors Stricter Gun Laws, Poll Shows

Photo Courtesy: Motoya Kawasaki.

Research conducted by the Associated Press-NORC’s Center for Public Affairs and the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy revealed 71 percent of Americans, including both Republicans and Democrats, supported stricter gun control policy – illustrating a wide shift in public opinion toward gun laws.

Eighty-five percent of the surveyors favored a policy that reflected “a federal law requiring background checks on all potential gun buyers, including sales and gun shows,” in which only 8 percent opposed. 

Eja Richardson, a political science major at Howard University, expressed her sentiments on the initiation of stricter gun laws.

“I believe stricter gun laws are necessary. Background checks, age restrictions I believe are necessary. I come from a family of gun owners, plus I am from Florida where I can own a gun at 18, but can’t get my license until I am 21. Those ages should be switched around, and before everyone gets a gun, they should go through a longer gun education class,” Richardson said. 

The polling also showed 54 percent of African Americans, 27 percent of Latinos and only 13 percent of white people expressed they personally, or someone they know, experienced gun violence, reiterating a disproportionate ratio of minority communities and white communities facing the threat of gun violence in the  United States.

However, a contradictory poll also revealed that 52 percent of the surveyors concurrently expressed they believe it is crucial to stop mass shootings around the country – but also allow people to have guns for personal safety.

“I believe we should have stricter gun laws because simply we should value life in this country [more] than death or defenses. Our communities aren’t supposed to be war zones where it’s like the wild Wild West and you have to carry a gun fearing what can happen to you,” Justin Hudson, a sophmore tv and film major at Howard explained, “as well having average people messing with military grade weapons really doesn’t favor our changes of more survivors to gun violence.” 

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The poll also revealed that 85 percent of Americans believe that those who are mentally ill should not be allowed access to buy weapons, and 59 percent support a restriction on semi-automatic weapons, revealing that a simple majority of the American public believe that some type of ban should be instilled on gun purchases. 

In June, President Biden signed into law the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act that allowed states to initiate ‘red-flag’ laws, and permitted individuals to petition in court to revoke someone’s firearm who is seen as a violent threat.

Parish Smith, a freshman at Howard University, believes more gun bans could possibly decline gun violence across the country.

“Stricter gun laws can include functions such as higher taxes on weapons to give purchasing of firearms more of a monetary blow, stricter penalties for those who discharge a firearm in places of peace or business, required training for those wishing to purchase a weapon and psychological screening for those wishing to buy weapons, enforcing more penalties on those who sell weapons without a permit and also redefining what makes an assault weapon an assault weapon because a litany of criminals purchase weapons with ease just because it isn’t viewed as an “assault” weapon,” Smith said.

Although public opinion lies in stricter gun laws, the Biden Administration’s response to gun violence has been increased community policing per his remarks on the Safer America Plan.

Copy edited by Alana Matthew 

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