Although respondents to America’s survey had different priorities with regard to gun control, an overwhelming majority of 88 percent called gun control a pro-life issue. Fifty-two percent of respondents had either been harmed by gun violence first hand or knew someone else who had been harmed by firearms. Mass shootings, suicide, crime, domestic violence and accidents were cited as sources of this harm.
Over half of respondents (52 percent) told America that there should be restrictions on the types and number of guns that individuals are permitted to own and use. “I would like to see most if not all guns banned,” said Brian Pinter of the Bronx, N.Y. “The Second Amendment was clearly relating to people who are members of a state militia. We ought to permit hunters to own rifles, but other guns should be banned.”
These readers repeatedly questioned the necessity of gun ownership for most Americans, particularly when these guns are assault weapons. “It is not necessary to have multiple weapons and the kind of weapons that can kill many people within minutes,” said MaryLouise Chesley-Cora of Hockessin, Del. Jeanne Deren of Northville, Mich., echoed this point: “There is no need for anyone to own assault-style rifles or semi-automatic weapons. I support people owning guns for hunting and shooting sports.”
Thirty-seven percent of readers thought that universal background checks should be the foremost priority in gun control enforcement and implementation. “If there are legitimate reasons that a person should not own a gun, then we need to screen for those whenever someone tries to buy a gun,” explained Joseph Denicola of Lincoln, Neb. “It’s just common sense,” said Wendy Sierra of Round Rock, Tex.