Gun Violence Survey: Opinions Changing After Tragedy

At the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado, a man opened fire on a theater full of people, killing and wounding many of the moviegoers. Early reports are still lacking many details about the tragedy, but it has certainly shaken many Americans and changed the way they feel about guns and violence. How many Americans have changed their opinions on important issues because of this tragedy? And how do they feel about the media coverage and prevention of future violence?

gun violence

Media Coverage

In Ask Your Target Market’s latest survey, 46% of Americans said they learned about the Aurora shooting via TV or radio news. 25% learned about it on online news sites. 13% learned about it via Facebook. 12% learned about it directly from another person. 2% learned about it via Twitter. And just 1% learned about it via a mobile app or from a newspaper.

30% of respondents said they definitely think the media is doing a good job in their coverage of the shooting. Another 42% said they think the media is mostly doing a good job covering the tragedy. 20% of Americans were unsure about the media coverage. Only 4% said they think the media is not doing a very good job, and another 4% said they think the media is doing a terrible job.

Controversial Issues

Gun control has already been a huge issue for many Americans, and some people have even changed their stance due to the recent shooting. Prior to the Aurora Colorado shooting, 45% of respondents said they strongly believed that Americans should have the right to own guns. And after the shooting, 43% said they strongly believe that Americans should have the right to own guns. Prior to the shooting, just 11% said they strongly believe Americans should not have the right to own guns, and after the shooting 15% said they strongly believe that Americans should not have the right to own guns.

Overall, 50% of survey takers said that because of the shooting they feel that gun control laws should be made stronger. Just 5% said they think gun control laws should be made more relaxed. 29% said they think gun control laws should be left as they are. And 16% said they are still unsure if the shooting has changed their opinion on gun control.

Violence in TV and movies is another big issue for many Americans. 13% said they think TV and movie violence definitely has a hand in instigating this type of tragedy. 25% said they think it probably instigates violence. 24% said they don’t think movie violence has much of an impact on this type of tragedy. And 17% said it definitely does not impact real life violence. People felt much the same about video game violence. 17% said they think video game violence definitely impacts real violence, and 18% said it definitely does not.

And finally, this type of tragedy may also impact people’s opinions of the death penalty. 46% of Americans said they were definitely in favor of the death penalty prior to the shooting, and 47% said they are definitely in favor of the death penalty after the tragedy. And 49% said that if the shooter is not found criminally insane, he should definitely face the death penalty.

Moving Forward

Unfortunately, this is not the only mass shooting in America over the last few years. 14% of respondents said they feel America is definitely more susceptible than other countries to this type of tragedy. 22% said it is probably more susceptible. 22% said they don’t think it is more susceptible, and 13% said America is definitely not more susceptible than other countries.

And moving forward, 38% of Americans feel there needs to be stricter gun control for assault weapons. 16% think there should be more ways to alert authorities if they think someone is showcasing potentially dangerous behavior. Just 2% said they think there should be more government surveillance. 30% said that other things can be done to prevent tragedies like this shooting. And 14% said there is nothing more that can be done to prevent this type of tragedy.

You can view the complete survey results in the widget below and be sure to click “Open Full Report” to take advantage of all the chart and filter options.

Photo Credit: Candlelight Vigil from Flickr

What do you want to know? If you need some consumer insights on a particular topic, let us know in the comments below and we’ll consider it for an upcoming survey post.

Results were collected on July 21 via AYTM’s online survey panel.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Anne Pilon
Anne Pilon brings 3 years experience to AYTM as a blogger and journalist. She has a degree in journalism and marketing communications from Columbia College in Chicago and enjoys writing about business, marketing, social media, and art.