US scores low on protecting gun rights
20 September 2013, 23:26
Washington - A growing number of Americans are
questioning the government's protection of the constitutional right to bear
arms, according to a poll by the AP-Norc Centre for Public Affairs Research.
A mass shooting this week at a military base in
Washington restarted the debate over tightening national gun control laws.
Asked how the government is doing on protecting a variety
of rights and freedoms spelled out in the Bill of Rights and federal law,
Americans pointed to slippage almost everywhere but most dramatically on guns
and voting rights.
Overall, 44% of Americans think the federal government is
doing a good job of protecting the right to keep and bear arms, down from 57%
two years earlier.
Opposition Republicans and independents were far more
likely than President Barack Obama's fellow Democrats to give the government
poor reviews on that point.
Among Republicans, 36% said the government was doing a
good job, down from 51% two years ago. That compared with 56% of Democrats,
down from 64% two years ago.
The survey was conducted 12 to 29 August, prior to the
mass shooting this week at the Washington Navy Yard that left 13 people dead,
including the gunman.
After the shooting, Americans from all sides spoke with
sorrow. But many opponents of gun control said tighter laws could make things
worse, while those who support tighter laws said the attack was another sign
that action is overdue.
Obama made a big push for tighter gun laws after a mass
shooting at a Connecticut school in December killed 20 young children and six
But the legislation has failed so far in Congress.
After Monday's shooting, the president's spokesperson said
Obama remained committed to strengthening gun laws.
But there was little expectation of movement in Congress.
The AP-Norc Centre survey was conducted by Norc at the
University of Chicago.
It involved landline and cellphone interviews in English
or Spanish with 1 008 adults nationwide. Results from the full survey have a
margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4% points.