New Gallup Poll on Guns

In a new poll (6/14/05) entitled "Public Wary About Broad Concealed Firearm Privileges," Gallup asks "Who Should be Allowed to Carry Concealed handguns?" and finds that 26 percent support letting private citizens with a "clear need" carrying guns and 27 percent support "any private citizen." The wording of this question is crucial, and that neither of these options corresponds to actual rules under right-to-carry laws. My experience in reading these polls is that you get much higher numbers when you include information such as "those who have passed a criminal background check" and/or "passed training requirements." When many people hear the term "any private citizen" they become concerned that this would allow criminals to carry concealed handguns. My own belief is that Gallup survey is not worth very much other than for its propoganda value, though it is interesting to me that 53 percent (26 + 27 percent) believe that citizens should be able to carry a gun without any mention of criminal background checks or training. 43 percent of guns owners and 17 percent of nongun owners think that any private citizen should be able to carry a gun. (You need to subscribe to Gallup to download the information in this survey.)

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