Despite the recent shooting sprees in the US, including the killing of six Sikhs in a Gurdwara, an overwhelming majority of Americans are opposed to any gun control law and support the constitutional right to own a firearm.

A latest poll conducted by Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) in partnership with Religion News Service (RNS), found that more than two-thirds (68 per cent) of Americans agree that the constitutional right to own and carry a gun is as important as other constitutional rights, such as freedom of speech or freedom of the press.

“In spite of recent debates over gun control, a strong majority of Americans believe that the constitutional right to own and carry a gun is as important as the right to free speech,” Dr Robert P Jones, PRRI CEO, said.

“Unsurprisingly, this belief is particularly pervasive among gun owners,” he said.

The survey also found that roughly three-quarters of Americans believe people should not be allowed to carry concealed guns in a church or place of worship (76 per cent), in a government building (73 per cent), or on a college campus (77 per cent).

However, opinion varies somewhat along political and religious lines.

According to the poll, nearly 3-in-10 (27 per cent) Americans say that stricter gun control is the most important thing that can be done to prevent mass shootings, while roughly 1-in-5 say that better mental health screening and support (22 per cent) and placing more emphasis on God and morality (19 per cent) are the most important preventive measures.

14 per cent of Americans say that stricter security measures at public gatherings are most important for preventing mass shootings from occurring.

Roughly 1-in-10 (11 per cent) Americans say that allowing more private citizens to carry guns for protection is the most important thing that can be done to prevent mass shootings, it said.

Wade Michael Page, 40, an ex-army veteran, went on a shooting spree killing six Sikhs and injuring three others, including a police officer, at the Gurdwara on August 5, before dying of a self-inflicted gun shot wound.

(This article was published on August 17, 2012)
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