FOX News Poll: Would Tougher Gun Laws Have Helped Stop Virginia Tech Shooting Rampage?

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Americans say tougher gun laws would not be able to stop things like the Virginia Tech shooting because people who commit these kinds of acts will always find guns.

The latest FOX News poll finds that about one of five Americans (19 percent) believes tougher gun laws can help stop shootings like the one at Virginia Tech, while a 71 percent majority disagrees.

Majorities of gun owners (78 percent) and non-gun owners (64 percent) alike believe that so-motivated individuals will always find ways around gun laws.

Democrats (29 percent) are more than three times as likely as Republicans (8 percent) to say they think tougher gun laws could help stop these kinds of shootings.

Opinion Dynamics Corp. conducted the national telephone poll of 900 registered voters for FOX News from April 17 to April 18. The poll has a 3-point error margin.

• Click here to see full results of the poll.

A similar question produced roughly the same results after the sniper shootings in the Washington, DC area in late 2002. Fourteen percent of the public felt that tougher gun laws could stop situations like the sniper shootings, though fully 76 percent said they thought people would always find ways around tougher gun laws (22-23 October 2002).

Half of Americans (50 percent) say they or someone else in their household owns a gun. These results show ownership slightly higher than in previous years. Polling conducted from 1999 through 2002 found that between 42 percent and 48 percent of Americans reported someone in their household owns a gun.

Republicans (57 percent) are more likely than independents (53 percent) and Democrats (41 percent) to live in gun-owning households.

In addition, Southerners (62 percent) and Midwesterners (56 percent) are more likely than those living in the West (45 percent) and significantly more likely than those living in the Northeast (27 percent) to be gun owners.

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