Polls: Voters Often Blame Mental Illness Instead of Gun Laws for Mass Shootings

While Florida Democrats are pushing for a special legislative session on gun control, polls say voters often blame mental illness for America’s mass shooting epidemic.

According to a Hill-HarrisX survey taken earlier this month, 30 percent of registered voters across the nation think mental illness is the most to blame for mass shootings while 24 think weak gun laws are to blame while 21 percent point to hateful public rhetoric.

President Donald Trump told reporters that social media companies could do more to help “detect mass shooters” based on what is posted on Twitter and Facebook but only 7 percent think social media should have the most blame for mass shootings while 4 percent point to video games and 3 percent point to movies and TV.

There is something of a partisan divide with 39 percent of Republican and independent voters saying mental illness is mostly to blame for massing shootings while 40 percent of Democrats say weaker gun laws should bear most of the blame.

The Hill-HarrisX of 1,0000 registered voters was taken from Aug. 8 through Aug. 9 and had a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent.

A Fox News poll taken this month shows 56 percent of those surveyed blame the lack of mental health services for mass shootings and the same percentage of voter blame weak gun laws while 40 percent said white nationalism, 39 percent point to bad parenting, 34 percent point to Trump, 23 blame violent video games and 15 percent blaming comments from Democratic leaders.

One of the main areas that stuck out in the Fox News poll is what the pollster called the “partisan divide.” A strong majority of Democrats–79 percent–say easy access to guns is to blame while 62 percent point to white nationalism and 59 percent to Trump.

But Republicans had a much different view with 60 percent saying inadequate mental health services was to blame, 54 percent pointing to bad parenting and 32 percent insisting weak gun laws are a major reason for mass shootings.

Two out of three voters surveyed–67 percent–want to ban assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons. This includes 86 percent of Democrats and 58 percent of voters outside the major parties. Republicans are divided on a ban with 46 percent backing the idea and the same percentage against it.

The poll of 1,013 registered voters was taken from Aug. 11 through Aug. 13 and had a margin of error of +/-3 percent.


Reach Ed Dean at ed.dean@floridadaily.com.


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