LITTLE ROCK (AP) - New polling data from Talk Business & Politics reveals Arkansans attitudes on a variety of gun-related topics.
The survey, conducted Tuesday, March 15, was used as the basis of a town hall meeting on open carry laws.
Talk Business & Politics, Hendrix College, Impact Management Group and KATV Channel 7 partnered on the survey.
"We wanted to test a variety of different positions on gun laws in Arkansas," said Roby Brock, Editor-in-Chief for Talk Business & Politics. "Clearly, Arkansas is a pro-gun state and the questions we framed were built to spark additional discussion about gun culture, test hot-button topics in this arena, and learn more about where and why Arkansas voters differ in their opinions on this very controversial subject."
The survey reached 632 registered voters in Arkansas. People were reached by cell phone and landline.
"This is the first time we've tested this in-depth on the subject of gun freedom and control and I think the results are fascinating. While some conclusions are obvious, our polling identifies some very deep subsets of thinking that must be understood to have a more meaningful and inclusive debate on guns going forward," Brock added.
According to TB&P, here is how some felt in the state:
- 59% of Arkansans say they own guns, while 27% say they do not and 14% said they prefer not to answer the question.
- 58% say that concealed carry laws would make society safer, but 38% say open carry laws would make communities safer.
- When offered a choice of which is more important – protecting the right to own guns versus protecting citizens from gun violence – 56% said gun rights were more important.
- 41% favor a nationwide ban on assault weapons compared to 49% who oppose
- 55% favor allowing teachers and school officials to carry guns in schools versus 38% who oppose
- 73% favor "a lot" or "some" mental health screening and treatment in order to prevent gun violence
- 49% favor expanded background checks for firearms compared to 40% who oppose
According to Dr. Jay Barth, professor of political science at Hendrix College, his analysis of the survey stated that Arkansans express their general commitment to maintaining gun freedom.
In conclusion of his analysis, Dr. Barth stated, "Attitudes about guns and gun policies are at the heart of some of the starker divides in and, because gun policy debates remain so salient in the United States, such divisions are only likely to deepen."