Home Social Issues Voters in SWVA Strongly Oppose Loosening Virginia Gun Laws

Voters in SWVA Strongly Oppose Loosening Virginia Gun Laws

444
26
SHARE

A poll of attitudes towards gun laws, conducted by the respected Lake Research Partners of Virginia Senate Districts 21 and 38 (southwestern Virginia; John Edwards’ and Phil Puckett’s districts), is being released this morning. I received an advance copy of the polling memo, which you can view in its entirety here. A few highlights.

1. “[S]trong majorities of voters oppose ending the state’s one handgun a month law, allowing guns on campuses, and allowing any person to carry a concealed and loaded gun without a permit or background check.”

2. “Voters in both districts want to make gun laws stronger, not less restrictive.”

3. “Voters strongly endorse requiring background checks for people purchasing guns and permits for people who want to carry a concealed loaded weapon.”

4. “Nine in ten voters in both districts oppose a suggested change that would allow any person to carry a concealed and loaded gun in public places without a permit or background check.”

5. “More than seven in ten voters in both districts oppose allowing students, faculty, and staff at Virginia’s state colleges and universities to carry concealed and loaded guns on campus.”

6. “More than six in ten voters oppose changing Virginia’s law that currently restricts handgun purchases to one a month.”

Perhaps most impressive – even stunning – is that gun owners in generally conservative, southwestern Virginia (note that there are also significant urban areas in Sen. Edwards’ district along with rural and suburban areas) hold very similar attitudes to non-gun owners. For instance, only about 37% of gun owners, and about 26% of non-gun owners, in the 21st and 38th Senate districts support changing Virginia law to allow people to purchase more than one handgun a month. With regard to allowing guns on college campuses, just 24% of non-gun owners support that, and also just 30% of gun owners. Finally, 94% of gun owners, and 95% of non-gun owners, in the 21st and 38th Senate districts believe that “anyone who buys a gun should be required to have a background check done.”

Bottom line: even in two districts of generally-seen-as-“pro-gun” southwestern Virginia, and even among gun owners living in those districts, there is little support for weakening Virginia’s gun laws, and far more support for keeping them the same or strengthening them. Which raises the question: why are members of the Virginia General Assembly voting against the wishes of a strong, even overwhelming, majority of their constituents? Think about that one for a minute.

  • Puckett

    Very favorable: 29%

    Somewhat favorable: 18%

    Somewhat unfavorable: 6%

    Very unfavorable: 6%

    No opinion: 29%

    Never heard of: 12%

    FAVORABLE: 47%

    UNFAVORABLE: 12%

  • John Edwards

    Very favorable: 25%

    Somewhat favorable: 29%

    Somewhat unfavorable: 13%

    Very unfavorable: 11%

    No opinion: 21%

    Never heard of: 0%

    FAVORABLE: 54%

    UNFAVORABLE: 24%

  • notlarrysabato

    The only rural parts of John Edwards district are the connecting precincts between Roanoke and Blacksburg.

    In fact, I think Barbara Favola has more “rural” areas in Great Falls than John Edwards has.

    Edwards is still voting on guns like he has his old conservative half rural/ half urban district from the 1990’s and not the current district he represents.

  • Senator McEachin Blasts Republicans for Hypocrisy

    And Lack of Concern about Drugs and Alcohol

    Richmond – Today, Senator A. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico) expressed his outrage that a bill that outlawed open carry of firearms while imbibing alcohol, a bill that garnered unanimous Floor support last year failed in committee this year.  Senator McEachin said, “I am outraged at the hypocrisy of my Republican colleagues. Last year, this bill passed the Senate with a 40 to nothing vote. Last year, we could come to the common sense agreement that guns and alcohol don’t mix. Last year, we put the safety of Virginians ahead of a powerful gun lobby and political ambitions.

    “This year, apparently all that has changed. Virginians still recognize that guns and alcohol don’t mix. It is still illegal to imbibe alcohol while carrying a gun with a concealed carry permit . It is still ridiculous that, somehow, it makes more sense to drink while carrying a gun openly. The only thing that has changed is Republican control and Republican partisan politics overcoming common sense and prioritizing the safety of Virginians.

    “This is not about the Second Amendment. This is not about trying to reduce or eliminate or in any way harm gun ownership. This is very simple. This is about keeping guns and intoxicated individuals apart. This is about reducing potentially fatal accidents or alcohol fueled crimes.

    “The NRA agrees that guns and alcohol don’t mix. Their own safety rule number five says to never drink alcohol while carrying a gun. All that this bill was trying to do was codify an NRA directive.

    “Something is very wrong here when a bill that had unanimous support, a bill that reflects NRA thinking is suddenly opposed by the very same people who supported it last year. It is terribly disappointing that my colleagues would not put Virginians and their safety first, even as they have done in the past.”

  • Quizzical

    “Which raises the question: why are members of the Virginia General Assembly voting against the wishes of a strong, even overwhelming, majority of their constituents? Think about that one for a minute.”

    Because it is a way to throw some “red meat” to reward their base without incurring any direct costs?  Because it is an easy way to seem to be taking immediate, bold action, without really doing anything?  Because gun stores and the NRA spend a lot of money on political campaigns and lobbying?

    These poll results makes sense to me, because after all, folks in rural districts would be quite knowledgeable about gun safety.