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FAU poll: Florida voters want universal background checks, support a ban on assault-style rifles

Posted at 3:31 PM, Feb 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-01 12:00:32-05

Florida Atlantic University on Wednesday released the findings of a new survey on gun issues.

The poll surveyed 800 registered voters using an automated telephone platform between Feb. 23 to Feb. 25.

Respondents were made up of 46.5 percent men and 53.5 percent women. 37.8 percent of the respondents were currently registered as a Democrat, 35.2 percent as Republicans, and 27 percent as Independents/other.

The survey found that 70 percent  of voters want stricter gun laws, while 11 percent said laws should be less strict, and 19 percent  wanted gun laws left as is.

The survey showed that 84 percent of the Democrats polled wanted stricter gun laws, followed by Independents at 69 percent and Republicans at 55 percent.

According to the survey results, 87 percent of voters said they supported a requirement for universal background checks for all gun buyers, while 6.1 percent opposed and 6.5 percent had no opinion on the matter.

The survey found 69.4 percent of voters support a ban on assault-style rifles and 22.8 percent are opposed to a ban.

The poll showed that 56.4 percent of respondents said they would oppose arming teachers, while 31.4 percent would support it and 12.2 percent had no opinion. 

Regarding the arming of teachers, 74 percent  of the Democrats who responded opposed it, while 16 percent supported it, 57 percent of Independents opposed it while 26 percent supported it, and 53 percent of Republicans supported it while 37 percent opposed it.

The survey found 77.7 percent of voters support raising the minimum age to purchase a gun from 18 to 21.  While 15.1 percent oppose raising the minimum age and 7.2 percent had no opinion.

The survey found over one in four voters have either themselves or know someone who has been a victim of gun violence (27 percent). The survey found 51 percent of black voters have either been the victim of gun violence themselves or know someone who has, while only 22 percent of whites and 24% of hispanics had this experience.

The survey found that 41 percent  of voters own a gun. If they have children this number increases to 46 percent, if they don't have children it drops to 28 percent.

According to the survey, Republicans are more likely to own a gun (52 percent) than Democrats (36 percent) and Independents (33 percent).

Voters were split on the cause of mass shootings with 39 percent saying availability of guns is the cause, while a lack of mental healthcare is seen as a major contributor by 24 percent of voters. Violent television programs and video games came in third at 18 percent and "something else" was selected by 14 percent of voters.

Republicans said the lack of mental healthcare (33 percent) was a major contributor of gun violence while availability of guns was thought to be the major contributor by Democrats (56 percent) and Independents (42 percent).