California has some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation. Asked if they'd like some more, Californians are telling pollsters, "Bring it on."
A narrow majority, 51 percent, said it's more important to protect people from guns than to protect the rights of gun owners, according to a poll released on Friday by the University of Southern California and the Los Angeles Times. Only 37 percent took the opposite position.
"In one question after another Californians made it very clear to us that they felt that there needed to be more stringent limitations on the ability of the state's residents to access, to purchase and to maintain ownership of a firearm," said Dan Schnur, director of the USC Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics, in an accompanying video.
Among the other points:
- 92 percent favor background checks for all gun sales; 6 percent oppose such measures
- 89 percent favor of improving mental health records in background checks; 9 percent oppose such measures
- 87 percent favor increasing penalties for gun crimes, 9 percent oppose such measures
- 85 percent favor increased penalties for illegally buying, selling or possessing guns; 12 percent oppose such measures
- 79 percent favor requiring ammunition buyers to provide thumbprints and identification; 19 percent oppose such measures
- 71 percent favor requiring all gun owners to be licensed and insured; 26 percent oppose such measures
- 66 percent oppose arming teachers and other school staff; 31 percent favor such measures
The results don't come as much of a surprise, since a Field Poll came to similar conclusions Feb. 26. And gun ownership is lower in California than in the rest of the nation, said Seema Mehta of the Los Angeles Times.
But the Field Poll did show a shift in opinion, the Bay Area News Group reported:
The 61 percent of California voters favoring more gun controls to the 34 percent more concerned with Second Amendment rights is a wider margin than the Field Poll has found in three previous surveys dating back to 1999.
Pollsters for both surveys speculated that the shift has resulted from widely reported incidents of gun violence such as the Dec. 14 massacre of 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.