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Poll: Most Americans See Arizona Shooting as 'Isolated Act' of an Individual

4 years ago
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Confirming the results of other recent polls, a new Pew Research Center survey says nearly six out of 10 Americans consider shootings like the one in Tucson to be isolated acts of troubled individuals, and that the latest violent incident has produced no significant change in public views on the issues of gun control and gun rights.

Fifty-eight percent of those surveyed Jan. 13-16 said the Arizona shooting spree, in which Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was critically wounded and 19 others killed or injured, was the isolated act of an individual, compared to 31 percent who believe the incident reflected broader problems in American society. Twelve percent were undecided.

As for gun control, 49 percent said it was more important to protect the rights of gun owners while 46 percent said the emphasis should be on controlling who can obtain guns. That's a modest change from last September, when 50 percent came down on the side of gun control and 46 percent favored gun rights.

Arizona shootings and gun controlThere is a big partisan divide on the question, however, with Republicans wanting to protect the rights of gun owners by a 72 percent to 22 percent margin while Democrats support tighter gun control measures by 70 percent to 26 percent.

Among the 31 percent who saw the Arizona incident as reflecting broader societal problems, 27 percent said the general social climate was at fault (things like breakdown of society or poor child rearing), 21 percent blamed the political and media climate, 14 percent said poor mental health services were responsible and 13 percent said it was too easy to get guns. The remainder cited other factors.

Other recent polls dealing with these questions found:

- Most Americans don't believe that stricter gun control laws would have prevented the shootings in Arizona on Saturday and the public is split on the question of toughening the laws regulating who can own firearms. (CBS News, Jan. 9-10).

- While the Arizona shootings have triggered a national debate about whether the vitriol in political rhetoric has gone over the top, 57 percent of Americans do not believe the heated partisan tone of public debate had anything to do with the gun rampage in Tucson. (CBS News, Jan. 9-10).

- Fifty-four percent said political rhetoric did not contribute to the incident while 40 percent said it did, with 6 percent expressing no opinion. (Washington Post/ABC News).

- "Fifty-two percent ... favor stricter gun control laws in general; 45 percent are opposed. That fairly close division is a shift from before fall 2008; in 2006 and 2007 alike, for instance, 61 percent supported stricter gun control." (Washington Post/ABC News).

- Americans have grown less supportive of strengthening gun laws over the last two decades. (Gallup).

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Filed Under: Guns, Polls, Poll Watch

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Until we become outraged over all violence in the same way and manner as we did with the Arizona shooting nothing will ever change. The killing of average Americans should offend us just as much.

January 20 2011 at 5:22 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

It really doesn't matter who says what and when.... Simply Put - The second amendment to the constitution is my GUN PERMIT.... That will never change!

January 20 2011 at 3:24 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

They need to forget about gun control in force the laws that we have and work on the national deat they need to put controals sealories of doctors and hospital charges and government employes and theyer insurance put in medicare and social securiety then you will see it well funded over night. We the people are the government, they sought only receive what the people receive in health care and retirement benefits.

January 19 2011 at 6:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I guess the threats made to her and vandalisms to her office were all isolated acts as well? She spoke about the anger and hate brewing around her on MSNBC. Someone from the Right should have responded directly to this incident. The environment was perfect for a shooting like this to happen. You had political poison on the airways + high unemployment rate + easy access to guns + and no one telling the America people (the crazies and the non-crazies) that violence isn’t the way. Don’t tell me that this had nothing to do with politics. His youtube videos and his myspace were political. The only difference between Jared and the individuals, who threaten her and vandalized her office, is that the screws in their head were a little tighter. Just watch her MSNBC interview. Pray for her and all the victims.

January 19 2011 at 5:59 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to reggienressa's comment
AZ Stang

Many people from the Right responded. Look it up.

January 20 2011 at 9:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

We need more emphasis on mental health screening at schools, and more mental health research and treatment availability.

January 19 2011 at 4:18 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Realtors's comment

There is no doubt we need to pay attention to those that are showing signs of mental illness. Schools should be taught not only how to recognize the warning signs but TOO MANY of you are IGNORING THE REST OF THE PROBLEM. DRUGS and the mentally ill. Pot does not mix well with many who are mentally ill. The bigger problem there is you don't usually find out which ones can and which ones can't unitl they ACT out!! Children do NOT need to be taking drugs on their own of any kind.

January 20 2011 at 10:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
AZ Stang

Oh- we can't do that! The ACLU won't let us use common sense! Thanks, liberals...

January 20 2011 at 9:18 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

ABC and the media need to be careful of not blaming either the left or the right when something as tragic as this happens.

January 19 2011 at 2:51 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to tripp's comment

I believe it was Obama who took to the airwaves proclaiming this was Palin's fault. Have we ever had a president who placed so much blame on everything ?
It seems he condemns just about everyone but himself. Wasn't it strange he made such a production of the poor little girl who was killed yet the man who threw himself over his wife to save her who died did not get the same attention. I mean this guy was a real hero but I guess he didn't draw as much publicity.As for all the people blaming Palin.. since when have we become a country that blames people dying for just words that were said. Words people , come on let's grow up and stop being immature with name calling and finger pointing. One thing I will say about all this is I think we need to stop looking for someone to blame and start working on our problems.Our country is being split in two by this president and I wish he cared more about us making it through all this than trying to get himself reelected.By the way Palin is just as bad. These two are the worst fame ****** who have ever been. We need to throw them all out and start over.

January 20 2011 at 7:22 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
AZ Stang

Celestialmotion- No, Obama didn't blame Sarah Palin. He said the blame game needs to stop, athe BSnd that this was an act of a single violent person. I'm a conservative, but he did a great job of stopping the crazies.

January 20 2011 at 9:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The Arizona Shooter is no John Wilkes Booth. He doesn't even have the philosophical sophistication of a Lee Harvey Oswald. He's just a disorganized, anger-filled PSYCHOTIC. His actions do not reflect a political Point of View.

January 19 2011 at 2:35 PM Report abuse +11 rate up rate down Reply

I thought we already knew this?

January 19 2011 at 1:16 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply

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