With accounts of accidental shooting deaths and injuries appearing almost daily, the question of irresponsible gun ownership is moving to the forefront of public discussion as the U.S. Congress continues to debate steps to reduce gun violence. A fascinating new poll by the Global Strategy Group for Vote Vets and the Center for American Progress Action Fund sheds some light on what veterans, those Americans intimately familiar with responsible gun ownership, think of the current state of gun laws in the United States. The short version: not much.
Only 7 percent of American veterans say they are very confident that those who have not served in the military take seriously the responsibilities that come with gun ownership (57 percent somewhat or very confident). By contrast, 46 percent of veterans say they are very confident that veterans in general take their gun ownership responsibilities seriously (92 percent somewhat or very confident):
Additionally, more than 8 in 10 veterans (85 percent) agree with the idea “that we can protect responsible gun owners’ Second Amendment rights while still making it more difficult for criminals and other dangerous people to obtain guns.” What do vets think about the gun violence reduction measures being discussed on Capitol Hill? Even though 50 percent of veterans self-identify as “conservative” in this poll, they are mostly all for them:
- More than nine in 10 veterans (91 percent) support requiring a criminal background check of every person who wants to buy a firearm, including 74 percent who strongly support it.
- Nearly all veterans (99 percent) support increasing criminal penalties for people convicted of illegally trafficking guns to criminals, including 91% who strongly support it.
- More than six in 10 veterans (61 percent) support banning high-capacity ammunition magazines, including 45 percent who strongly support it.
- Nearly six in 10 veterans (58 percent) support banning assault-style weapons, including 40 percent who strongly support it.
The message from America’s veterans is clear — other Americans need to take more responsibility with their guns and sensible gun measures are consistent with our constitutional rights.