The Supreme Court is wrestling with a major case questioning whether Chicagoâ€™s handgun ban violates the Second Amendment, but 69% of Americans say city governments do not have the right to prevent citizens from owning such guns.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that just 25% of adults think city governments do have that right.
These findings are unchanged from June 2008 just before the Supreme Court overturned a Washington, D.C. law banning handguns in that city. That decision also prompted an increase in the high courtâ€™s favorability ratings. Sizable majorities of Americans across virtually all demographic lines, including age, income, gender, race and political affiliation, share the belief that cities do not have the right to ban handgun ownership.
In part, thatâ€™s because 70% of all adults believe the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right of an average citizen to own a gun. Thatâ€™s down five points from a year ago but consistent with findings last October. Generally unchanged from those surveys is the 14% who say thereâ€™s not a constitutional right to gun ownership. Sixteen percent (16%) are not sure.
Americans have decidedly mixed feelings about the need for stricter gun control laws, however. Forty-two percent (42%) say tougher anti-gun laws are needed, but 49% disagree and say stricter gun control is not necessary.
In recent years, support for stronger gun control has ranged narrowly from a low of 39% in October to a high of 45% in April 2007 following the killings at Virginia Tech. The plurality (49%) of women favor stricter gun control laws, but 58% of men are opposed. Support for more gun control is considerably higher among those 18 to 29 than among those in any other age group.
Sixty-five percent (65%) of Democrats think America needs stronger anti-gun laws. Sixty-five percent (65%) of Republicans and 52% of voters not affiliated with either major party disagree.
Forty-four percent (44%) of Americans now say someone in their household owns a gun. Forty-eight percent (48%) say there is no gun in their house.
Interestingly, married adults and those with children living with them are much more likely to say there is a gun in the household than unmarrieds and those without children in the home.
Last June, 57% of Americans said gun sales were up in the United States because of a fear of increased government restriction on gun ownership. Twenty-three percent (23%) said gun sales have risen because of a fear of increased crime.
Thirty-eight percent (38%) of voters now rate the Supreme Court’s performance as good or excellent, while 19% say it’s doing a poor job.
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