Gun Control Divide Persists, Questions Remain About Sandy Hook, Poll Shows [AUDIO]
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is proposing a litany of gun control and violence prevention legislation.
The full General Assembly has already passed a 22-bill gun control package and the State Senate is considering a variety of measures.
The issue has been dominating the news cycle recently and a new national survey reveals political party affiliation is dictating position.
The survey also shows a significant number of Americans think the truth about the Sandy Hook school massacre is being suppressed.
Almost three-quarters (73 percent) of Democrats say that Congress needs to pass new laws to protect the public from gun violence, but the views of Republicans are almost completely opposite: 65 percent don't think new laws are necessary. Overall, registered voters are divided over the need for new gun control legislation. Fifty percent agree it is needed, with 39 percent who disagree.
"If there was a bipartisan moment after Sandy Hook to pass gun control legislation, it's past," says Dan Cassino, a professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson, and an analyst for the poll. "Partisan views have strongly re-asserted themselves, and there's no sign that they'll get any weaker."
You Say You Want A Revolution?
Supporters and opponents of gun control have very different fundamental beliefs about the role of guns in American society.
Overall, the poll finds that 29 percent of Americans think that an armed revolution in order to protect liberties might be necessary in the next few years, with another five percent unsure. Only 38 percent of Americans who believe a revolution might be necessary support additional gun control legislation, compared with 62 percent of those who don't think an armed revolt will be needed.
"The differences in views of gun legislation are really a function of differences in what people believe guns are for," explains Cassino. "If you truly believe an armed revolution is possible in the near future, you need weapons and you're going to be wary about government efforts to take them away."
Newtown Conspiracy Theory
The Sandy Hook shooting in December 2012, sparked the recent debate over the need for new gun control laws. The survey finds that overall, a quarter (25 percent) of Americans think that facts about the shootings at Sandy Hook elementary last year are being hidden and an additional eleven percent are unsure. Republicans are more likely to think that the truth about Sandy Hook is being suppressed, with 32 percent agreeing. Education matters. About a third (31 percent) of those with no more than a high school degree think the truth is being hidden compared with 16 percent of college grads.
Gun control opponents are also more likely to believe that the truth about the Sandy Hook shootings is being hidden for political purposes. Thirty-seven percent of Americans who think the public is being lied to about Sandy Hook support new gun control efforts, compared with 59 percent of Americans who don't think there's a Sandy Hook conspiracy.
The poll of 863 registered voters was conducted nationally by telephone with both landline and cell phones from April 22 through April 28, 2013, and has a margin of error of +/-3.4 percentage points.