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Firearm owners concerned about gun violence, support policies to reduce shootings: research

A Taran tactical combat master hand gun
AP Photo/Brittainy Newman, File
A Taran tactical combat master hand gun is displayed for sale in Hempstead, N.Y.

The majority of gun owners are concerned about gun violence and support policies to reduce gun-related injuries and deaths, according to new research from Tufts University and gun safety organization 97Percent.

Three-fourths of gun owners surveyed said they are concerned about the frequency of school shootings, and 71 percent said the same of mass shootings, according to the research released on Monday. Seventy percent said they also want to help find a way reduce gun-related injuries and deaths.

Most gun owners, including Republican ones, said they support several proposed laws to prevent people with a high risk of violence from accessing guns. 

Gun safety organization 97Percent, which touts itself as a bipartisan group of both gun owners and non-gun owners, noted in its report on the research that this defies the current perception that there is an “intractable divide” over gun control in the U.S.

“The myth of an intractable divide in our country is merely that: a myth,” the group said in its report.

More than 70 percent of gun owners said they support laws prohibiting gun possession among those convicted of domestic violence or subject to a domestic violence restraining order, requiring background checks and safety courses for a concealed carry permit, and establishing universal background checks.

Red flag laws — which allows police to temporarily take away firearms for an “emergency” period using a court order — also received widespread support among gun owners, with 69 percent in favor.

More than 60 percent also said they support requiring a permit for concealed carry and a safety course for gun purchases. Fifty-four percent supported requiring a permit to purchase or possess a handgun, while just under half — 48 percent — supported requiring a permit to purchase or possess any gun.

However, gun owners vastly underestimate their fellow gun owners’ support of these laws.

The report pointed to four potential laws that could feasibly help reduce gun violence — violent misdemeanor laws, firearm permit laws, universal background check laws and red flag laws. 

Violent misdemeanor laws would expand current laws to prohibit those convicted of violent misdemeanors from purchasing or owning guns. Currently, most laws only target those convicted of felony violent crimes.

97Percent said in the report that any history of violent crime, including a misdemeanor, is the “single greatest risk factor” for future violence and that violent misdemeanor laws could reduce by firearm homicide by 19 percent.

While gun owners supported several gun safety laws, they mostly opposed bans on assault weapons or high-capacity magazines. Only 34 percent said they would support an assault weapons ban and even fewer — 28 percent — said they would support a high-capacity magazine ban. 

These proposals, which have been a major talking point for Democrats, are especially unpopular among Republican gun owners, with only 16 percent supporting either ban. About 19 percent of gun owners said they themselves owned a military-style, semi-automatic weapon, according to the report.

President Biden renewed his calls for an assault weapons ban last week, after a shooting in Raleigh, N.C., killed five people, including one off-duty police officer. The U.S. has been plagued by numerous deadly shootings, including the one earlier this year at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 children and two teachers dead.

The research, conducted by the Tufts University School of Medicine, was based on a survey of 1,078 gun owners, a literature review of the effectiveness of various gun laws and 96 focus groups and interviews.

Tags Gun control gun control legislation gun owners gun violence Joe Biden Joe Biden mass shootings Raleigh shooting school shootings Uvalde shooting
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