Most tie guns, mental health to shooting

Jan. 24, 2011 at 2:32 PM
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PRINCETON, N.J., Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Americans link gun laws and mental health to the mass shooting in Tucson, in which six people died and 13 others were injured, a Gallup poll indicated.

When asked what they thought would work to prevent a similar tragedy, Americans most likely suggested changes to gun laws while the second-most-often mentioned response was to improve the mental health system, results of the Gallup-USA Today poll released Monday indicated.

Answers to the open-ended questions reflect different results than another Gallup poll conducted soon after the Jan. 8 shooting spree, when the majority of people surveyed said they didn't think stricter gun laws would have prevented the tragedy, the Princeton, N.J., polling agency said. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., was critically wounded in the head and a federal judge was killed in the rampage attributed to 22-year-old college dropout Jared Loughner.

When asked what they think would work, survey participants most likely suggested stricter gun control laws, education about guns and violence, background checks for guns and allowing more Americans to carry guns for protection, Gallup said.

Participants also suggested that improvements in the mental health system, better security at public events, speaking out more about possible dangers, better parenting, and returning God or morality to people's lives could help prevent future shootings, Gallup said.

When assessing "blame" for the Tucson shootings, the majority of Americans assigned a "great deal" of blame to the mental health system for a perceived failure to identify people posing a danger to others, followed by easy access to guns.

Results for poll are based on nationwide telephone interviews conducted with 1,032 adults Jan. 14-16. The margin of error is 4 percentage points.

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