'Batman' killings do little to boost stricter gun-control laws


TWO MONTHS after suspect James Holmes allegedly shot 12 people to death and injured another 58 in an Aurora movie theatre, Coloradans are staunchly against stricter gun-control laws, a new Denver Post poll shows.

Respondents were asked, “What do you think is more important – to protect the right of Americans to own guns? Or, to control gun ownership?” Fifty-six per cent said it was more important to protect the right to own guns, versus 39 per cent who said controlling gun ownership and 5 per cent who weren’t sure.

Men tended to be more likely to defend gun ownership, with 63 per cent supporting the right to own guns and 32 per cent saying gun control was more important. Women, meanwhile, were more divided on the question, with 49 per cent saying the right to own guns was more important versus 46 per cent who believed gun control to be.

The survey also asked, “What do you think is the best way to reduce gun violence in this country: by passing stricter gun-control laws? Or by stricter enforcement of existing laws?”

On this question, Coloradans were more lopsided against gun control, with 27 per cent supporting stricter gun-control laws and 64 per cent favouring stricter enforcement of existing laws. There was also less division between genders, with 71 per cent of men supporting stricter enforcement of existing laws to 21 per cent supporting stricter laws.

Meanwhile, 56 per cent of women supported beefing up enforcement of existing laws versus 32 per cent who said new, stricter laws were needed. The findings of the poll are similar to other polls that have shown Americans have softened their support for stricter gun controls in recent years despite mass shootings.

The telephone poll, conducted September 9th-12th by SurveyUSA, took a sounding of 615 likely voters in Colorado.

Of voters in the sample, 34 per cent said they were Republicans, 34 per cent said they were Democrats and 30 per cent identified said they were unaffiliated.

Republicans were overwhelmingly in favour of gun rights, with 79 per cent saying the right to own guns is more important than controlling gun ownership, compared with 29 per cent of Democrats. Still, Democrats were more closely divided when asked about stricter laws, with 48 per cent favouring stricter laws to 44 per cent supporting greater enforcement of existing laws.

One Coloradan interviewed in the random survey was Mark Baisley, a 57-year-old from Roxborough Park, who also happens to be the chairman of the Douglas County Republican Party.

“I actually thought about the Aurora incident in my answer,” he said. “If there were more people in that theatre who were armed, there would have been a greater chance of stopping that violence by people shooting back.

“Evil people are going to do evil things every now and then. You can’t just clamp down on everyone’s freedom in hopes that you’re going to stop an evil person from doing evil to others one of these days.” – (Denver Post/New York Times)