Most Arizona Residents Actually Want Stricter Gun Control Laws -- Rate Higher Than the National Average

Well this is interesting. In the wake of January's shooting in Tucson, which left six people dead and more than a dozen others, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, injured, a ton of stories were written about the terrifying gun culture in Arizona. But according to at least one recent poll, most Arizona residents are actually in favor of enacting stricter gun laws. In fact, the pro-gun control rates in Arizona are higher than the national average.

As AlterNet's own Joshua Holland wrote shortly after the Tucson massacre, "Arizona provides ample evidence that the presence of a large number of untrained but heavily armed citizens running around doesn't make anyone safer. The state ranks dead last in gun controls, according to the Legal Community Against Violence (LCAV)....Has this made the citizens of Arizona, a gun-lover's paradise, safe? Well, the state ranked 7th in the country in per capita gun deaths, according to statistics compiled by The Daily Beast, and eighthin terms of the overall rate of violent crime, according to Census data."

Despite these statistics, Public Polling Policy has found that the majority of Arizonans want stricter gun laws -- though the numbers are predictably partisan:

Overall, 55% [of Arizonans] are in favor of more stringent gun control legislation, with 38% opposed. It rises to majority support based on 81% of Democrats and a 48-43 margin with independents. Republicans, however, are a mirror image of the overall electorate, opposing by a 55-36 margin.

Another interesting tidbit, given all the talk in the media about shooter Jared Lee Loughner's mental health status:

92% of the state’s voters want to keep those adjudicated as mentally ill from being able to buy guns, something that is prohibited federally but which depends on compliance from states and private gun dealers. Republicans, at 93%, actually are most strongly in favor of this measure.

It's disappointing (though not surprising) that right-wingers only care about keeping guns out of the hands of individuals with mental illnesses -- as though they're the only people who ever commit gun violence. But overall this is fairly heartening news. Now, the real question: will Arizona politicians listen?

AlterNet / By Lauren Kelley

Posted at February 4, 2011, 7:20am

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