With the highest disapproval rate in the New York Times/CBS‘ decade-long polling history, 50% of Americans now oppose a nationwide assault weapons ban. Yes, you read that right, this is a New York Times poll. The highest disapproval had ever been was in 2009 when disapproval was at 41%. Correspondingly, the percentage of respondents who favor a nationwide assault weapons ban is at an all-time low of 44%. The highest approval was in August 1999 at 76%. But, of course, the Columbine shootings happened in April 1999 and the nation still may have been in shock over the brutal violence.
While these numbers are surprising, perhaps the most telling poll results are from a question that asks whether stricter gun laws will help prevent gun violence. Thirty-three percent of respondents believe stricter gun laws will help “not at all” to prevent gun violence. In contrast, 45% of respondents believe that better mental health screening and treatment would help curb gun violence.
As we’ve mentioned many times before, America does not have a gun problem, we have a mental health problem. This view is largely in step with the rest of the country, which is even more gun grabby than the average Coloradan.
If Democrats, like Governor John Hickenlooper, want to continue to vilify guns, we welcome that with open arms because they will only further drive a wedge between their party and the electorate, especially here in Colorado.
The New York Times/CBS polled 1,275 total voters, including 431 Republican primary voters and 384 Democratic primary voters on December 4-9, 2015.