New Poll: Most Americans Say Banning Handguns Is Unconstitutional

Karen Schuberg | March 5, 2010 | 2:56pm EST
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( – While the U.S. Supreme Court considers whether Chicago’s handgun ban breaches the Second Amendment, 69 percent of Americans believe city governments have no right to legislate against citizens owning such guns, a new poll shows.
According to a Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey, only 25 percent of adults say city governments have the right to bar citizen handgun ownership.
The pollster asked: “Some people believe city governments have the right to ban ownership of handguns within their cities. Others say that’s a violation of the Second Amendment which guarantees citizens the right to bear arms. What do you think? Do city governments have the right to prevent citizens from owning handguns?
The findings echo those from June 2008 when the Supreme Court overturned a Washington, D.C., law which prohibited handguns in that city.
“Sizeable majorities of Americans across virtually all demographic lines, including age, income, gender, race and political affiliation, share the belief that cities do not have the right to ban handgun ownership,” the report said.
The pollster also found that 70 percent of all adults believe the right of the average citizen to own a gun is guaranteed by the Constitution. Fourteen (14) percent deny such a constitutional right exists and 16 percent are unsure.
How Americans feel about the need for more stringent gun-control laws is mixed: 42 percent want tougher anti-gun laws, but 49 percent think stricter gun laws are not needed.
Support for stronger gun control rose from 39 percent to 45 percent in April 2007, in the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre, when a student opened fire, killing 32 people and wounding many others before committing suicide.
Sixty-five (65) percent of Democrats want America to have stronger anti-gun laws, while 65 percent of Republicans and 52 percent of independents disagree.
Forty-four (44) percent of Americans now say there is a gun in their household, while 48 percent say no one in the house owns a gun.
Ironically, married adults -- including those with children in the household -- are “much more likely” to have a gun than single adults and those without children at home.
Last June, 57 percent of Americans said gun sale increases were fueled by a “fear of increased government restriction” on owning guns. Twenty-three (23) percent attributed the rise in gun sales to a “fear of increased crime.”
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