One of the challenging issues in the debate over gun laws is the lack of knowledge about basic facts.
A ScottRasmussen.com national survey found that just 20% of voters believe 5 million Americans or more own semi-automatic weapons. While precise numbers are impossible to obtain, it is likely that more than 10 million Americans own such weapons. Only 8% estimate the number is that high.
One-out-of-four voters (25%) believe that a million or fewer Americans own such weapons. That includes 13% who believe the total is 100,000 or less.
A majority of voters (54%) admitted they are simply not sure of the correct answer. The lack of knowledge is found among all demographic groups (show crosstab results).
Data released earlier shows that about half of all voters support a mandatory government buy back of semi-automatic weapons. However, just 24% think it is even somewhat likely that most gun owners would comply.
Ignorance about the number of semi-automatic weapons is far from the only public misunderstanding when it comes to guns. Just 11% recognize that most gun deaths in the United States are the result of suicide.
Forty-one percent (41%) of voters mistakenly believe gang violence results in more gun deaths than anything else. While gang violence takes a significant toll, it accounts for approximately one-out-of-five gun related deaths. That’s one-third the number of gun deaths by suicide.
Twenty-seven percent (27%) mistakenly think mass shootings are the primary cause of gun deaths. While these shootings are horrific and receive a tremendous amount of coverage, they account for less than 1% of gun deaths each year.
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The national survey of 1,002 Registered Voters was conducted September 17-18, 2019 by ScottRasmussen.com and HarrisX, a polling company specializing in online surveys (see Methodology and a Demographic Profile of the sample). Results from the full sample have +/-3.1 Margin of Sampling Error with a 95% level of confidence.
Neither Scott Rasmussen nor ScottRasmussen.com has any relationship with Rasmussen Reports® (see About Us).