A strong majority of Americans (91%) support for a legal process that protects individual rights but empowers police to take guns from people credibly reported to be public threats or mentally unstable. A new ScottRasmussen.com national survey found that only 9% disagree.
Several states have such Red Flag laws in place. USA Today reports that the laws “generally allow law enforcement or family members to petition a judge for a ‘gun violence restraining order’ or “extreme risk protection order” to temporarily restrict a person’s access to firearms.” While an emergency order can be issued by a judge, “a full hearing must be scheduled quickly, offering the gun owner the ability to respond.”
While it was not explored in the survey, there is likely to be significant disagreement about the specific details of what constitutes an appropriate legal process that protects individual rights. There will also be substantial distrust between those who want to end or severely limit gun ownership and those who defend the Second Amendment. But the broad support for the concept indicates a strong public desire to find the right balance.
Support for such a legal process held up across every major age and ethnic group in the country. Republicans (88%) and Democrats (91%) also agree at an almost identical rate.
This national survey of 1,001 Registered Voters was conducted October 11-12, 2018 for ScottRasmussen.com by HarrisX, a leading research company specializing in online surveys (see Methodology). The Margin of Error is +/- 3.1 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.
Putting issues of mental health aside, most voters are less sure about the effects of gun restrictions overall. When asked whether modest restrictions on the ability to buy a gun would significantly reduce the number of gun-related deaths in America, only thirty-eight percent (38%) say they would. These results are almost identical to when voters were asked the same question in a similar ScottRasmussen.com survey in mid-August.
Only 29% of Republican respondents believe modest gun restrictions would significantly reduce gun related deaths while 50% of Democrats say they would.
But there is more partisan agreement in other areas.
An equally strong percentage of Republicans and Democrats (93%) agree on imposing modest restrictions on gun ownership like waiting periods and background checks.
There is also general bipartisan agreement when voters are asked about whether private citizens in general should lose gun rights. Eighty-one percent (81%) of Republicans and 66% of Democrats oppose banning private ownership of guns.
Still, 71% of Republicans and 90% of Democrats agree that it is generally too easy to buy a gun in America today.
Gun laws are among the public’s top three priorities for the U.S. Supreme Court agenda.
ScottRasmussen.com releases new polling data four to eight times each day. Our mission is to enhance the public dialogue through data driven analysis. We also update the president’s job approval and the Generic Congressional Ballot regularly.
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