The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Peter Hamm, 202-289-5792,

Americans Oppose and Feel Unsafe With Open Carry; Women Strongest in Opposing Guns in Public


A majority of Americans oppose people carrying
loaded guns openly in public. More feel unsafe than feel safer - and a
third feel much less safe with that knowledge, according to a poll
conducted for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence by respected
polling firm Lake Research Partners.

"Politicians who are doing the bidding of the gun lobby, and
businesses who worry about offending gun rights extremists, should look
at this data and be aware that there is potentially a large price to pay
with voters and customers alike," said Paul Helmke, President of the
Brady Center. "Having more guns in public places not only puts more
people at risk, it clearly makes people feel less safe."

"We found strong negative reactions to more guns in public - both
carried openly and concealed - among many key voting blocks, and
stronger-than expected concerns about some of these policies among gun
owners," said Celinda Lake, President of Lake Research Partners.

There is a sizable gender gap in the polling data, with 63 percent of
women feeling less safe with allowing open carry. The gap, of 49 points
between men and women, represents "one of the largest divides seen on
current issues," researchers report. Voters who were identified as
people of color also "solidly and intensively" oppose allowing open

The poll of 600 registered voters was conducted April 26-28, and
carries a margin of error of plus or minus four percent. Among the

  • Fifty-two percent oppose allowing people in general, not just
    those connected to law enforcement, to carry loaded guns openly in
  • Fifty percent of voters feel less safe knowing that people not
    connected to law enforcement can carry guns in public, while 38 percent
    feel more safe.
  • A majority - 51 percent of those polled - said they were less
    likely to vote for a candidate who makes it easier for people to carry
    loaded guns in public, compared to 27 percent who were more likely to
    support such a candidate. Fully 63 percent of women said they were less
    likely to vote for a candidate who makes it easier to carry guns in
  • Women across all groups oppose open carry broadly - 76 percent
    of women of color, 68 percent of urban women and older women, 59 percent
    of suburban women 55 percent of younger women and a majority of rural
  • A similar majority - 56 percent of those polled - favor
    Starbucks and other retail establishments establishing strict "no
    guns" policies for their businesses - and far more gun owners support
    a "no guns" policy for Starbucks than believe Starbucks and other
    businesses should allow firearms on their premises.
  • When it comes to concealed weapons, 57 percent of respondents
    said they felt less safe knowing people can carry loaded, concealed guns
    in public. Fully 39 percent of respondents said they felt much less
    safe knowing that people may be carrying concealed, loaded weapons.

Brady Center Vice President for Law and Policy Dennis Henigan will
present further data from the poll at a press conference tomorrow
(Thursday, May 13) in Seattle, where the Starbucks Coffee Company is
based. And Helmke, the Brady President, will speak to news media in
Charlotte, North Carolina Friday, the site of the National Rifle
Association's annual meeting featuring speakers including Sarah Palin
and Newt Gingrich. More data is at:

and more will be added to the website on Thursday and Friday after
those press briefings.

The Seattle press conference will be at 10 AM Thursday at the
Washington Athletic Club in Seattle, 1325 Sixth Avenue. The time and
location of the Friday discussion of polling data by Paul Helmke will be
announced shortly.

The Brady Campaign launched a petition online in February, in
partnership with CREDO Action, asking Americans to urge Starbucks to bar
guns from its stores. So far more than 35,000 have signed. The Brady
Campaign has also posted videos related to the issue. View them at

More information about "open carry," including which states allow
it, is at

Brady United formerly known as The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and its legislative and grassroots affiliate, the Brady Campaign and its dedicated network of Million Mom March Chapters, is the nation's largest, non-partisan, grassroots organization leading the fight to prevent gun violence. We are devoted to creating an America free from gun violence, where all Americans are safe at home, at school, at work, and in our communities.