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Students weigh in on gun control with Pack Poll - Technician: News

Students weigh in on gun control with Pack Poll

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Posted: Monday, February 4, 2013 12:10 am

A recently conducted poll shows students do not want to ban semi-automatic weapons nationwide.

According to the Pack Poll, a semi-annual representative survey of N.C. State undergraduates, 57 percent of N.C. State students oppose a nationwide semi-automatic gun ban.

This is relatively consistent with the data found by the Gallup Poll, which showed that 51 percent of Americans are not in favor of a semi-automatic gun ban. Statistically, men are more likely to oppose the ban while women are more likely to support it. Republicans oppose the ban more often than Democrats, 73 percent of who support it.

Although most students oppose a nationwide gun ban, most were not in favor of having guns around on campus. Twenty-nine percent of students strongly oppose the idea of having a concealed carry policy on campus while only 17 percent strongly support it.

Partisanship again had a significant impact on opinions in this poll. Eighty-three percent of Democrats oppose concealed carry on campus, a greater percentage than the 63 percent of Republicans who oppose such a policy.

Politics were not the only factor that appeared to have an impact on students’ opinions. Other factors that may have played a role in shaping opinions included students’ upbringing. Students whose parents own a gun are twice as likely to support concealed carry on campus as students whose parents do not.

The Pack Poll gathered these statistics from an online survey conducted Jan. 28-29, in which about 26,000 students were emailed questions about their opinions on gun laws. Of the 26,000 who were contacted, 891, or 3.4 percent, responded.

According to Jake LaRoe, a researcher at the Pack Poll, this is a high response rate compared to the 9 percent response rate normally seen in industry polls, which can likely be attributed to the brevity of the survey and the exclusiveness of the network of survey recipients.

The recent gun control policy debate prompted the questions on the Pack Poll and is the topic of legislation in the North Carolina Senate. According to The News and Observer, a bill was introduced Thursday, Jan. 31, which will allow teachers to possess guns on campus if passed.

Alex Dowcett, a junior in environmental engineering and Democrat who participated in the survey, said he does not want to see a concealed carry policy on campus.

“A large part of me says that there is no reason why a technologically advanced society should allow an object that has the one and only use of taking another person’s life,” Dowcett said. “Having increased access to guns in a day and age where the most minor incidents can become volatile especially scares me. For example, a scuffle at a State tailgate in 2004 ended with two people dead and at least one State student going to jail for life. Everyone involved.”

Some student leaders were not surprised about the results of the poll. Ross Pilotte, a junior in fisheries and wildlife sciences, opposed a nation-wide ban on semi-automatic weapons.

“We’re a huge agricultural school, a huge wildlife school. A lot of us are hunters,” Pilotte said. “The students I have spoken to are not convinced that this gun ban won’t affect their ability to hunt, and I believe we are a student body that remains educated with current events and from what I gathered, want our government to place more time and money on mental health education, diagnoses and research, not gun control."

Pilotte is the president of the University’s chapter of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, an organization that advocates for a concealed carry policy on campus.

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