Nevada Gun Poll Results

A majority of Nevadans say it is more important to protect the right of Americans to own any gun they desire than to control gun ownership but a larger majority favor a nationwide ban on military-style semi-automatic weapons, according to an 8 News Now poll released Monday.

The statewide telephone poll of 600 adults, conducted last Monday through Wednesday by SurveyUSA of Clifton, N.J., revealed that Nevadans are torn on gun topics. The poll results came at a time when Congress is debating gun issues in the wake of the Dec. 14 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Among respondents 51 percent said it was more important to protect the right to own any gun one desires, versus 43 percent who indicated control over gun ownership was more crucial. But this question, with a 4.1 percent margin of error, exposed a wide gender gap and an even wider gap between Republicans and Democrats that was present throughout the poll.

In this case, men and Republicans favored the right to own any gun by margins of 60-36 percent and 73-22 percent respectively, while women and Democrats preferred controls over gun ownership by 50-42 percent and 64-30 percent respectively..

Some 57 percent of those surveyed said gun ownership makes society more safe, while 32 percent answered more dangerous. Men and Republicans answered the safe/dangerous question 66-25 percent and 78-17 percent respectively while women responded 47 to 40 percent. But Democrats answered more dangerous by a 51-37 percent margin.

On the flip side, there was 57 to 33 percent support in favor of a nationwide ban on military-style semi-automatic weapons. The support was far greater among females, 63 to 27 percent, than males, 50 to 40 percent. Democrats also favored the ban 71 to 19 percent, but Republican response was a virtual tie between support and opposition.

Also, 60 percent of those polled said laws covering the sale of firearms should be made more strict, versus 30 percent who believed they should be kept as they are and 8 percent who indicated the laws should be less strict. Some 70 percent of women but only 49 percent of men favored stricter laws.

Some 54 percent of respondents said there were no guns in their residence, 20 percent had one gun, and 26 percent had more than one firearm. By party affiliation, 60 percent of Republicans said they had at least one gun, while the same was true of only 42 percent of Democrats.

Among other results:

  • By a margin of 50 to 42 percent, respondents favored a law that limits how much ammunition a gun or gun magazine can hold at once. While this question held true for a majority of women by a margin of 53 to 36 percent, the same was not the case for men. Actually, 48 percent of men were in opposition versus 47 percent in support.
  • Some 71 percent favored a law that requires guns to be registered with the state, versus 23 percent in opposition.
  • There was 76 percent support and only 19 percent opposition for a law requiring that anyone who sells a gun do a criminal background check on the buyer, including gun sales between private individuals.
  • Some 54 percent of those polled said Nevada could do more to keep children safe at school, while 33 percent indicated the state is doing enough.
  • An even greater majority, 64 percent, said Nevada could do more to keep guns away from those who are mentally ill, versus 17 percent who indicated the state is doing enough.
  • There were also 60 percent who said Nevada should spend more tax dollars for mental health care, while 24 percent were opposed.

As for the demographics of the respondents, there were equal percentages of men and women and 59 percent of respondents were aged 18 to 49. The respondents were 59 percent white, 22 percent Hispanic, 11 percent Asian-American and 7 percent black.

Some 51 percent lived in Clark County outside Las Vegas, 23 percent resided in Las Vegas, 14 percent were from Washoe County and 12 percent lived elsewhere in the state. The political party affiliation was 40 percent Democrat, 31 percent independent and 29 percent Republican.


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