Each year in its fall poll, the Saint Leo University Polling Institute, has asked 1,000 or more adult respondents nationally about their attitudes on guns, gun control legislation, and possible policy responses to mass shootings. The margin of error on these surveys is plus or minus 3 percentage points. The most recent survey was fielded from September 10 to September 16, 2017.

Florida journalists: The institute asked the same questions of a parallel survey of 500 Florida adults in the same time period. The margin of error for responses is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points. Florida results are shown on the right for comparison to national responses.

Support / Oppose Gun Controls–Questions as Asked and Responses over Three Years

Please think for a moment about your own position and beliefs about gun control. Which one of the following best reflects your own, personal position on gun control?

Choose one statement September 2017 2016 2015 FL – 2017 FL-2016 FL-2015
There should be no regulations or controls on any firearms 13.1% 12.6% 12.8% 10.2% 9.6% 9.8%
There should be some limited licensing, permitting or some restrictions on certain arms such as assault weapons 71.8% 74.9% 73.2% 74.2% 76.2% 72.4%
Firearms should not be owned privately 9.6% 8.1% 8.5% 10.6% 7.8% 12.5%
Unsure 5.5% 4.4% 5.5% 5% 6.4% 5.2%

Which of the following, given the number of mass shootings nationwide, best reflects your own personal position toward gun ownership and gun regulation?

Choose One Statement September 2017 2016 2015 FL- 2017 FL-2016 FL – 2015
I continue to support gun ownership rights under the 2nd Amendment without exception and believe these mass shootings would be less frequent/horrific if more citizens were armed 23% 27.2% 26.5% 26.6% 25% 21.6%
I continue to support gun ownership rights under the 2nd Amendment without exception but don’t believe in an effort to arm more citizens 15.9% 16.3% 15.9% 16.2% 13.2% 18.9%
I support gun ownership rights but am open to more exceptions, regulations and restrictions 45% 42.6% 40.7% 40.8% 47.2% 41.8%
I continue to oppose private ownership of firearms 9.5% 7.2% 9.1% 11% 8.6% 12.9%
Unsure 6.6% 6.7% 7.8% 5.4% 6% 4.8%

Government, on the state and federal levels, can increase funding and support for mental health treatment. How helpful would increased funding and emphasis on mental health treatment be toward reducing the number and frequency of mass shootings? Would you say…

One choice allowed September 2017 2016 2015 FL -2017 FL – 2016 FL- 2015
Very helpful 35.3% 37.9% 36.7% 37.4% 33.8% 38.9%
Somewhat helpful 38.2% 39.1% 38.5% 40.2% 43% 36.6%
Not very helpful 13.4% 12.4% 11.3% 10% 10.6% 13.1%
Not at all helpful 3.7% 3.1% 3.5% 4.6% 2.8% 3.3%
Unsure 9.4% 7.5% 10% 7.8% 9.8% 8.1%

New question added this year (previous years referenced then-President Obama):

On the issue of gun control, how much would you say President Trump has weighed in or voiced his views…

Possible choices September 2017 FL – 2017
Just enough 24% 25.6%
Too much 18.3% 20.2%
Too little 29.9% 35.2%
Unsure 27.8% 19%

Media contacts:
Jo-Ann Johnston, Saint Leo University, University Communications jo-ann.johnston@saintleo.edu or (352) 588-8237 or (352) 467-0843 (cell/text).     

Mary McCoy, Saint Leo University, University Communications mary.mccoy02@saintleo.edu or (352) 588-7118 or (813) 610-8416 (cell/text).

More About Our Research
METHODOLOGY: The poll sampled opinions of 1,000 approximately proportional to state population contribution nationwide. The survey was conducted September 10-16, 2017. All surveys were conducted using an online survey instrument. The poll has a +/- 3.0 percent margin of error at a 95 percent confidence level on a composite basis.

In Florida, 500 distinct respondents approximately proportional to state population contribution were surveyed also from September 10-16, 2017.The results have a margin for error of +/-4.5% at a 95% confidence level.

The Saint Leo University Polling Institute conducts its surveys using cutting-edge online methodology, which is rapidly transforming the field of survey research. The sample is drawn from large online panels, which allow for random selections that reflect accurate cross sections of all demographic groups. Online methodology has the additional advantage of allowing participants to respond to the survey at a time, place, and speed that is convenient to them, which may result in more thoughtful answers. The Saint Leo University Polling Institute develops the questionnaires, administers the surveys, and conducts analysis of the results. Panel participants typically receive a token incentive—usually $1 deposited into an iTunes or Amazon account—for their participation.

The Saint Leo University Polling Institute survey results about national and Florida politics, public policy issues, Pope Francis’ popularity, and other topics, can be found here: http://polls.saintleo.edu. You can also follow the institute on Twitter @saintleopolls.


About Saint Leo University
Saint Leo University (www.saintleo.edu) is a modern Catholic teaching university that is firmly grounded in the liberal arts tradition and the timeless Benedictine wisdom that seeks balanced growth of mind, body, and spirit. The Saint Leo University of today is a private, nonprofit institution that creates hospitable learning communities wherever students want to be or need to be, whether that is a campus classroom, a web-based environment, an employer’s worksite, a military base, or an office park. Saint Leo welcomes people of all faiths and of no religious affiliation, and encourages learners of all generations. The university is committed to providing educational opportunities to the nation’s armed forces, veterans, and their families. Saint Leo is regionally accredited to award degrees ranging from the associate to the doctorate, and the faculty and staff guide all students to develop their capacities for critical thinking, moral reflection, and lifelong learning and leadership.

The university remains the faithful steward of the beautiful lakeside University Campus in the Tampa Bay region of Florida, where its founding monks created the first Catholic college in the state in 1889. Serving more than 13,000 students, Saint Leo has expanded to downtown Tampa, to other sites in Florida and beyond, and maintains a physical presence in seven states. The university provides highly respected online learning programs to students nationally and internationally. More than 90,000 alumni reside in all 50 states, in Washington, DC, in three U.S. territories, and in 76 countries.