Suppose more Americans were allowed to carry concealed weapons if they passed a background check and training course. Would the U.S. be safer or less safe?
First, how would you answer this question?
If you said "safer," you'd be in the clear majority, according to a new Gallup survey of 1,015 adults.
Fully 56% said the country would be safer if more trained citizens were armed; 41% disagreed.
As you might expect, men favored the idea more: 62% said safer to 37% less safe. But now even 50% of women agree society would be safer, while 45% disagree.
Location of residence had some effect, but perhaps not as much as you might expect. Small town and rural residents felt more concealed carry would be safer, 63% to 33%. Suburban residents voted safer too, 52% to 47%. Big city residents broke closest, 50% safer to 47% less so.
Majorities of almost every age group also said safer — 66% of young people 18 to 29, 56% ages 30 to 49, 51% of those 50 to 64 and 50% of those older.
Three-out-of-four gun owners (74%) said safer, while 48% of non-gun owners agreed.
Almost every education demographic said safer — 57% to 40% among high school graduates, those with some college education broke 65% to 31% and college graduates said safer, 56% to 43%.
Only those with post-graduate degrees saw less safety in wider concealed carry, 35% safer to 54% less safe.
The largest disagreement came in breakdowns by political party. Republicans felt concealed-carry made life safer, 82% to 16%. Independents were 59% safer to 39%.
And Democrats, who lead the most recent congressional bids for additional gun controls, were the most opposed to wider concealed-carry even with background checks and training, 31% safer to 67% less safe.
Despite defeats in Congress two years ago, the Gallup survey conducted 10 days ago found an overwhelming majority of Americans — 86% — favored background checks on all gun purchasers, to only 12% opposed and 2% who claimed not to know.
But 53% said background checks would have little (22%) or no effect (31%) on reducing the number of mass shootings in the country. Nineteen percent said such a law would have a great effect and 28% said a moderate effect.
A previous Gallup poll found the largest sector, 48%, placed a great deal of blame for the shootings on failings of the country's mental health system. Those blaming easy access to firearms dropped from 46% to 40%.
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