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Gallup poll: Washington talks guns, immigration; Americans say focus on anything else

Published: Thursday, May 9 2013 8:58 a.m. MDT

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Although gun control has dominated the airwaves and Washington for the past few months, Americans rank it as second-to-last in their priority list, Gallup reported Wednesday, with only 55 percent of poll respondents saying reducing gun violence should be a top/high priority for Washington.

Republicans and Democrats differed sharply on the issue, with 73 percent of Democrats and 40 percent Republicans ranking it as a top priority. Fifty percent of Independents shared that opinion.

On April 17, Senate Republicans and some Senate Democrats scuttled gun control legislation that would install tighter background checks for buyers and a ban on "assault weapons." Other failed measures also included a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines.

The president expressed his feelings toward the failure of gun control legislation, saying, "All in all, this was a pretty shameful day for Washington. But this effort is not over. I want to make it clear to the American people: we can still bring about meaningful changes that reduce gun violence so long as the American people don't give up on it."

While gun violence has been widely debated, new information suggests it has also been dropping significantly since 1993 — and that few Americans are aware of it.

New data released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that firearm-related homicides dropped 39 percent and nonfatal firearm crimes dropped 69 percent from 1993 to 2011. In 1993, firearm-related homicides stood at 18,253, but by 2011 it dropped to 11,101 in 2011. Nonfatal firearm crimes dropped from 1.5 million victimizations in 1993 to 467,300 in 2011.

A new Pew analysis said the gun homicide rate is down 49 percent from its 1993 peak, and goes on to say that 56 percent of Americans today believe gun crime is higher than 20 years ago. Only 12 percent rightly think it is lower.
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Downtime
Saint George, UT

Reducing gun violence and gun "control" are two completely different issues. Why do they always lump them together? Why don't they also call the desire to stop drunk driving "car control"?

OneAmerican
Idaho Falls, ID

We are on the verge of Obamacare forcing a great number of people to take second jobs when their primary source of income reduces them to 29 hours per week and many others out of work altogether, jobs are stagnant with the government playing numbers games to say unemployment is down to 7.5% in spite of 6 million fewer in the workforce since 2008 (who would work if work were available), and businesses don't dare invest in the economy because of uncertainty of how much money they will need to reserve for an additional tax burden the president and Harry Reid are begging for. Of course Americans want Washington to focus on anything but guns and immigration.

JLFuller
Boise, ID

Gun violence is DOWN by 39% and so the gun control "debate" is moot. This tactic is only about getting power. The only goal is to scare people into voting Democrat by making stuff up and selling it to low information voters as fact. Democrats are pushing pure fiction.

JayTee
Sandy, UT

The evidence is consistent: The more government and the more government meddling a society has, the lower the overall standard of living, the more ACTUAL insecurity is experienced, and the more reason people have for real concern regarding the future. Government doesn't usually solve problems--it complicates them, compounds them, and subsidizes them. Until we focus on getting government out of the things it shouldn't be involved in (micromanaging and manipulation), and back to doing what it SHOULD do (like curtailing the invasion of this homeland)--the national problems will continue to compound. Also, until we start getting serious about spending and the nearly $17,000,000,000,000 immediate and official Federal deficit, government has no business messing with every finite and minute detail of our lives.

Perfice
South Jordan, UT

JLFuller:

Where'd you get the number that gun violence is down 39%? Maybe since before the Brady Act was passed in 1994. Since it was gutted and then expired, gun homicides have increased from 9000's in the late 1990's to 11000's last year. Using MATH, that is a more than 20% increase.

...and to the author, the same Gallup polling organization showed that the majority of Americans had favored the passage of increased background checks.

Maybe what we are all sick of is politicians who don't really care what their constituents want because they're too busy listening to some lobby.

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