Two Polls That Smash Through The Case For More Gun Control

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Guy Bentley Research Associate, Reason Foundation
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Those hoping for a popular resurgence for gun control are having their ambitions smashed by two major opinion polls showing strong opposition to further restrictions and widespread support for concealed weapons.

A CNN/ORC poll released Wednesday shows 52 percent of Americans oppose more gun control laws compared to 46 percent who want the government to tighten regulations.

Opposition to gun control has grown since CNN’s last poll in June that showed the public was split with 49 percent on either side of the issue.

The support for gun rights has grown despite the Umpqua Community College shooting Oct. 1 that killed nine people.

Twenty-six-year-old student Christopher Harper-Mercer massacred classmates and teachers with firearms purchased legally. The incident provoked outrage and a volley of proposals for stricter gun laws. (RELATED: Faith In The Fruitless: Why Gun Control Won’t Work)

In the aftermath of the shooting, President Barack Obama said “each time we see one of these mass shootings, our thoughts and prayers are not enough.”

“It cannot be this easy for someone who wants to inflict harm on other people to get his or her hands on a gun.” On Oct. 5, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the administration was considering whether the president can take executive action to enforce stronger gun control rules.

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton also threatened executive action to crack down on guns if she is elected president and if Congress fails to act.

But a tougher stance on guns may be an electoral liability for Clinton, with public opinion flowing so strongly in the opposite direction.

Not only do most Americans oppose more restrictive laws but they also believe more concealed weapons will make the country safer.

A Gallup poll released Tuesday shows 56 percent of Americans believe that if more people carried concealed weapons after passing a criminal background check and training course the U.S. would be a safer place.

Aside from gun owners and Republicans, young people between the ages of 18-29 are the most favorable toward concealed weapons, with 66 percent saying an increase will improve public safety.

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