CBS Highlights Public Opposition to Gun Control

On Friday's The Early Show, CBS correspondent Whit Johnson filed a report highlighting a recent Gallup poll finding a majority of Americans opposing new gun control laws at the highest rate ever recorded. After beginning the piece by highlighting a woman who just recently decided to become a gun owner for the first time in her life, Johnson detailed some of the poll's findings:

According to a new Gallup poll, 47 percent of Americans report having a gun on their property, up from 41 percent a year ago, the highest number Gallup has recorded since 1993. The poll also found that 53 percent of Americans oppose a ban on assault rifles and semi-automatic guns, the first time more have opposed than supported a ban.

The CBS correspondent noted that Democrats like President Obama have been reluctant to push new gun laws, and took a moment to note complaints from gun control advocates. After a clip of Colin Goddard, a member of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, complaining that there are not enough gun laws, Johnson undermined him by noting the substantial drop in "gun-related homicides" that has coincided with increasing gun ownership:

WHIT JOHNSON: But the number of firearm-related homicides in the U.S. has dropped dramatically, from more than 18,000 in 1993, to fewer than 9,000 in 2010 - numbers the NRA is quick to point out.

CHRIS COX, NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION: Those rates are the lowest record in 43 years while gun ownership is at all-time high. It really destroys the arguments from the gun control community that more guns means more crime.

But the CBS correspondent ended his piece on an odd note as he seemed to wonder if new gun owners like the woman featured earlier would end up somehow undermining the positive crime statistics, and noted that the assault weapon ban likely will not be renewed.. Johnson:

Still, it remains to be seen how new gun owners like Katie Barbour will shape the debate going forward. The 10-year assault weapons ban signed by President Clinton expired in 2004. Polls like this one only reinforce the growing sense of reluctance among Democrats to once again take the issue on.

Below is a complete transcript of the report from the Friday, October 28, The Early Show on CBS:

CHRIS WRAGGE: But first here this morning, some news this morning about gun control that may surprise you. According to a new poll, most Americans are now against it. It's a sign that we're more comfortable with guns than ever, and correspondent Whit Johnson is in Washington with more for us on that. Whit, good morning.

WHIT JOHNSON: Chris, good morning to you. Well, it's difficult to monitor gun ownership in this country, but this new Gallup poll indicates that more and more people have guns in their homes, and that America's attitude towards gun control may be shifting. Katie Barbour is firing a gun for just the second time

KATIE BARBOUR, GUN OWNER: I was, never was around guns my whole entire life, and-

JOHNSON: Keeping an open mind, Katie went to this shooting range in Virginia with her boyfriend two weeks ago, and now they're handgun owners.

BARBOUR: I don't really think I'm comfortable with carrying a handgun around 24/7 strapped to my side yet, but, you know, I do, I do feel comfortable in a place like this.

JOHNSON: According to a new Gallup poll, 47 percent of Americans report having a gun on their property, up from 41 percent a year ago, the highest number Gallup has recorded since 1993. The poll also found that 53 percent of Americans oppose a ban on assault rifles and semi-automatic guns, the first time more have opposed than supported a ban. Even after Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was seriously wounded this year in an Arizona shooting rampage, the cries for tougher gun laws have quieted on Capitol Hill. President Obama has said little about the subject publicly, frustrating gun violence prevention advocates like Colin Goddard.

COLIN GODDARD, BRADY CAMPAIGN TO PREVENT GUN VIOLENCE: That morning changed my whole perspective on this country, my community.

JOHNSON: Goddard was shot four times during the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre. He says the words "gun control" have become a political tabboo, and a distraction from much needed reforms.

GODDARD: Took me nearly losing my life to realize that, you know, we don't register guns, we don't license gun owners, we don't even do background checks on everybody.

JOHNSON: But the number of firearm-related homicides in the U.S. has dropped dramatically, from more than 18,000 in 1993, to fewer than 9,000 in 2010 - numbers the NRA is quick to point out.

CHRIS COX, NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION: Those rates are the lowest record in 43 years while gun ownership is at all-time high. It really destroys the arguments from the gun control community that more guns means more crime.

JOHNSON: Still, it remains to be seen how new gun owners like Katie Barbour will shape the debate going forward. The 10-year assault weapons ban signed  by President Clinton expired in 2004. Polls like this one only reinforce the growing sense of reluctance among Democrats to once again take the issue on.