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Americans Blame Government More Than Guns for Florida Massacre

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Most Americans think government error is more responsible than a lack of gun control for the Valentine’s Day massacre at a Florida high school.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 54% of American Adults believe the failure of government agencies to respond to numerous warning signs from the prospective killer is more to blame for the mass shooting. Thirty-three percent (33%) attribute the deaths more to a lack of adequate gun control. Eleven percent (11%) opt for something else. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Among Americans who have children of elementary or secondary school age, 61% think the government is more to blame. Just 23% of these adults fault a lack of adequate gun control more.

Ninety percent (90%) of all Americans say they have been following news reports about the Florida killings at least somewhat closely, with 53% who have been following Very Closely.

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The survey of 1,000 American Adults was conducted on February 25-26, 2018 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Forty-one percent (41%) of Americans believe stricter gun control laws would do the most to reduce the number of mass murders, while just as many (40%) say more action to treat mental health issues would make the biggest difference.

But Americans aren’t convinced stricter gun laws will reduce crime and don’t trust the government to fairly enforce those laws.

Those who have been following the news Very Closely see the failure of government agencies as more to blame for the Florida killings by a 54% to 35% margin.

Middle-aged voters are the most likely to view the government as more to blame.

Married adults and those with children in the home are even more likely to blame the government than those who are not married and don’t have children living with them.

Seventy-five percent (75%) of Republicans and 55% of adults not affiliated with either major political party see government failure as more to blame than a lack of adequate gun control, but just 36% of Democrats agree. Fifty percent (50%) of Democrats say a lack of sufficient gun control is more at fault.

Only 26% of Likely U.S. Voters trust the federal government to do the right thing at least most of the time.

Thirty-two percent (32%) now think FBI Director Christopher Wray should resign or be fired because of his agency’s failure to act on tips alerting them beforehand to the shooter who ultimately killed 17 at the Florida high school.

Amid renewed calls for stricter gun control, most Americans who have guns at home say it makes them feel safer.

Most Americans continue to believe that violent video games and movies make America a more hostile place. But just 13% feel that limits on violent movies and video games would do the most to reduce incidents like the one in Florida.

Fifty-four percent (54%) think the children in most schools in America are at least somewhat safe, but only 32% believe schools can be made completely safe against violence.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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