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NCJ Number: 78807 Find in a Library
Title: Gun Control and Opinion Measurement - Adversary Polling and the Construction of Social Meaning
Author(s): D J Bordua
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 26
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Selected polls deemed relevant to public opinion on gun control and the results and an analysis of the 1976 Massachusetts referendum on gun control are examined; conclusions are drawn on various aspects of public opinion on gun control.
Abstract: In the face of contentions by gun control advocates that polls showed the public to favor gun control, the National Rifle Association commissioned a 'conservative' polling organization to study attitudes and opinions related to private ownership of firearms. This 1975 national poll measured the strength of public feeling on gun control through open-ended 'funneling' questions and a semistructured question. The open-ended questions inquired about problems facing the Nation and the local community. No one indicated that gun control was a primary concern, even though 13.5 percent indicated crime was a major national problem. The semistructured question inquired about what steps should be taken to reduce crime. Ten percent suggested steps codeable as 'gun control.' A 1977 Illinois telephone survey gave respondents 10 items and requested that each be rated on a 5-point scale of importance. 'Strengthen gun control laws' was seventh under the rating of 'very important.' The 1976 Massachusetts handgun ban proposition was soundly defeated. A postreferendum survey of voters found that of those voting against the ban, 26 percent believed such a ban would not be effective against crime and 22 percent supported a person's right to own a gun. Overall, it appears the majority of the American public is not convinced that handgun control would significantly reduce crime. Tabular data are provided, along with 15 references.
Index Term(s): Gun Control; Illinois; Massachusetts; Public Attitudes/Opinion; Surveys
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