Poll: Over Half of Tea Party Members Support Bringing Guns to Church

A recently released poll has found that Americans who describe themselves as members of the tea party movement are the most likely to support carrying guns to church.

According to the Public Religion Research Institute poll, released Wednesday, 55 percent of respondents who identified themselves as tea party members supported allowing people to carry guns to church. This contrasted with 38 percent of Republicans, 17 percent of independents, and 9 percent of Democrats.

"Although the issue of gun control tends to divide Americans by party, gender, region and race, there is broad agreement among the public that there are some places where concealed weapons should be off limits," said PRRI Research Director Daniel Cox in a statement.

The poll was conducted between Aug. 8 and 12, with a sample space of 1,006 adults. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.

According to the PRRI poll, overall roughly three-quarters of Americans oppose concealed carry of guns into various facilities, with 76 percent opposing them in worship facilities, 73 percent opposing them in government facilities, and 77 percent opposing them on college campuses.

Other findings from the poll included 52 percent of Americans favoring tougher gun laws and 68 percent of Americans believing that the constitutional right to own a gun is as important as other rights.

"In spite of recent debates over gun control, a strong majority of Americans believe that the constitutional right to own and carry a gun is as important as the right to free speech," said Dr. Robert P. Jones, PRRI CEO, in a statement.

"Unsurprisingly, this belief is particularly pervasive among gun owners."

The results of the poll come in the wake of several high profile gun-based violent crimes took place across the country. On July 20, an individual entered a Colorado movie theatre during a viewing of "The Dark Knight Rises" and opened fire, killing 12 and wounding 58. On Aug. 5, a shooter opened fire at a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wis., killing six and wounding four.

The poll also came a couple weeks after a court in Georgia upheld a law that banned the bringing of firearms into places of worship.

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on July 20 that the 2010 law banning guns from churches did not violate either the First or Second Amendment.

"A place of worship's right, rooted in the common law, to forbid possession of firearms on its property is entirely consistent with the Second Amendment," ruled the Eleventh Circuit.

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