By Maria Caspani
(Reuters) – A majority of Americans, including Republicans, Democrats and gun owners want stricter laws on gun ownership and armed guards in schools, according to a Reuters/Ipsos national poll taken in early March.
Hundreds of thousands of students and their families are expected to march in cities across the United States on Saturday to demand stricter gun control, part of the response to a mass shooting at a Florida high school in February.
The following are some of the main findings of the poll:
GUNS IN SCHOOLS
About 75 percent of adults say they want armed security guards in school, with some 53 percent in favor of publicly funding gun classes for teachers and school personnel and 45 percent saying school staff should be encouraged to carry a weapon.
BIPARTISAN SUPPORT FOR GUN CONTROL
A majority of Democrats and Republican voters support stricter gun laws, including 91 percent on both sides who say anyone with a history of mental illness should be banned from owning a gun. Eighty-four percent of Republicans believe people on the “no-fly” list should also be banned from gun ownership and 83 percent are in favor of expanding background checks. A majority of Republicans also say that assault weapons and high capacity ammunition clips should be outlawed.
GUN OWNERS ARE MORE LIKELY TO VOTE
Gun owners are more politically active than others, the poll found. They are more likely to be registered to vote, and they express more interest in voting in November’s midterm elections, when one third of U.S. Senate seats and all the seats in the U.S. House of Representatives will be decided.
Fifty percent of gun owners said they are certain to vote compared to 41 percent of people who do not own a gun.
GUN CONTROL IS AS IMPORTANT AS THE ECONOMY
Gun control is on a par with the economy as a top issue that will motivate U.S. voters in November, the poll found.
GUN OWNERS STILL APPROVE OF THE NRA
One in four adults say they own a gun and a majority of gun owners say they own more than one gun.
Nearly 60 percent of gun owners say that the National Rifle Association gun rights advocacy group is either doing “the right amount of work” or it “doesn’t do enough” to promote the interests of gun owners. About 30 percent say the NRA is “too aggressive” in promoting gun rights, according to the poll.
Separately, about 38 percent of gun owners also say they would like to vote in November for a congressional candidate who would oppose U.S. President Donald Trump and 39 percent say the country is on the wrong track.
The Reuters/Ipsos poll of 2,389 U.S. adults was conducted between March 5-7 and has an overall credibility interval of 4-5 percent.
(Reporting by Maria Caspani in NEW YORK; Editing by Leela de Kretser and Grant McCool)