Poll: Half of Americans Want Assault Weapons Banned

(CN) – In the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead, half of Americans say they support a nationwide ban on assault rifles like the AR-15 style carbine used by the shooter, according to a new poll.

The Washington Post/ABC News poll also found that 77 percent of Americans don’t think Congress is doing enough to prevent mass shootings. In 2012, following the death of 20 children in Newtown, Connecticut, Congress voted against a measure to expand background checks for gun purchasers.

Since 2016, the United States has seen the deadliest mass shootings in its history.

In June 2016, 49 people were killed at an Orlando nightclub by a shooter armed with a semi-automatic rifle.

This past fall, a man fired over 1,110 rounds into a crowded outdoor concert in Las Vegas, killing 58 people. He used bump fire stocks, which allowed him to fire his semi-automatic rifles more rapidly.

Americans also appear willing to spread the blame: 62 percent think President Donald Trump isn’t doing enough to prevent mass shootings. On Saturday, just three days after the Parkland shooting, Trump angered some of the survivors when he tweeted about the FBI’s investigation and how it related to him.

“Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter,” Trump wrote. “This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign – there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!”

One of the students tweeted back at Trump, angry over his attempt to politicize the shooting.

“Oh my god,” the student wrote. “17 OF MY CLASSMATES AND FRIENDS ARE GONE AND YOU HAVE THE AUDACITY TO MAKE THIS ABOUT RUSSIA???!! HAVE A DAMN HEART. You can keep all of your fake and meaningless ‘thoughts and prayers’.”

When it comes to the problem of mass shootings, 57 percent of respondents polled believe they reflect problems “identifying and treating people with mental health problems,” while 28 percent blame inadequate gun control laws.

Still, a majority of respondents – 58 percent – said they believe the Florida school shooting could have been prevented by stronger gun control laws. Thirty-seven percent said strengthened gun control laws would not have helped.

Like other recent mass shootings, the Florida rampage has reignited the debate over gun control. High school students are organizing numerous protests, including a nationwide school walkout on April 20 to mark the 19-year anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting.

Student survivors of the Parkland shooting will also protest in Washington on March 24 as part of the March For Our Lives event.

“Every kid in this country now goes to school wondering if this day might be their last,” the event’s website said. “We live in fear.”


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