Richmond Virginia State House Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Amadeust, Wikimedia Commons

In contrast to large crowds calling for local Second Amendment resolutions, Virginia voters strongly support new gun control measures ahead of the new legislative session in January. 

According to a new poll out from the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University, voters also support passing the Equal Rights Amendment, increasing the minimum wage and decriminalizing marijuana possession. 

Democrats will be taking control of both houses of the General Assembly next month, making it easier for a wide range of measures that have faced GOP roadblocks in the past.

“This survey suggests there’s pent-up demand among voters for a lot of the Democrats’ policy agenda,” Wason Center Director Quentin Kidd said in a news release. “There’s pent-up demand in the Democrats’ caucus, too, and it will be revealing to see what legislation the new majority prioritizes now that they’re in power.”

Voters strongly support requiring background checks on all gun sales, 86% to 13%, and passing a ‘red flag’ law to remove guns from someone who may harm someone, 73% to 23%, according to the poll results. A slight majority, 54% to 44%, support banning assault-style weapons.

Among other results:

  • Voters strongly back the Equal Rights Amendment (80%-13%).

  • A slight majority oppose giving localities authority to remove or alter Confederate monuments (51%-44%).

  • Voters strongly support decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana (83%-14%).

  • Voters strongly support raising the minimum wage (72%-28%)

  • Voters strongly support automatic voter registration (64%-31%), and no-excuse absentee voting (74%-23%)

  • Voters strongly support passage of the redistricting reform constitutional amendment (70%-15%).

The Wason Center conducted 901 interviews of registered Virginia voters, Nov. 11-22. The margin of error for the survey is +/- 3.4 %.

(24) comments


before folks think this survey actually means something, look at the demographic data they posted:

Northern Virginia 34

Richmond/Central 21

Hampton Roads 24

South/Southwest 21

that's the distribution of those polled, they are overwhelmingly in democrat favored area's. Wason's surveys and analysis are overwhelmingly partisan in favor of Democrats and they are staunchly anti-trump and anti-republican.


from a statistics perspective the sample size of that survey is extremely low to say the "overwhelming majority of voters". This entire survey is suspect and partisan and likely targeted at those area's where there is a strong democrat presence. it's quite obvious from the reactions that the overwhelming majority of voters do not support the governors actions.


These proposals make good sense to me: "Voters strongly support requiring background checks on all gun sales, 86% to 13%, and passing a ‘red flag’ law to remove guns from someone who may harm someone, 73% to 23%, according to the poll results. A slight majority, 54% to 44%, support banning assault-style weapons."


with a sample size of only 900 people and no information on the distribution of those surveyed, the survey is useless and inconsequential

Luis Ferrao

Don't believe the polls! I have never been polled in my life, so where are they coming from? More lies (Propoganda) from the media.


I am an Independent and oppose constant and corrosive Conservative and Progressive feuding. Not only have I never been polled about anything but my Progressive Delegate and Senator don't poll their constituents about anything. Know where this Progressive Wave is taking us? To a moderate elected Governor in 2021.

Mrs. Silence Dogood

I wished the all the professors and a few of the good students at VT had been ALLOWED to have their firearms with them, the day a mentally ill person came to take their lives.

Well meaning, bad laws, produce nothing good.


"Virginia voters back gun control measures" - What Virginia voters want in this case is irrelevant. The right to bear arms is protected against the people, and the president, and the Congress. It is inviolable. And don't give me any BS about "sensible" gun control measures not actually infringing that right, because that is a damned lie. How about "sensible" speech control measures? Oh wait, I guess this current generation of proto-communists would like that, too. This is not California, folks. This is the home of Thomas Jefferson. They can try to take our guns - and that is EXACTLY what they are trying to do - but they better be ready to put their money where their mouth is.

Lynne June

The only thing jeopardizing our life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness is this nonsensical talk of changing one of the most well-conceived constitutions ever written. Our ancestors did not flee tyrannies to come here to change our nearly-perfect constitution. They came here for the foundation upon which this country was built. Talk like this needs to be quashed and rejected at every turn.

Allen Muchnick

Common-sense gun-control laws won't inhibit law-abiding citizens from defending themselves in the slightest..

This nonsensical hysteria over Second Amendment "rights" could eventually lead the majority of American citizens--who favor sensible gun regulation and are sick and tired of feeling threatened by gun violence--to repeal the antiquated Second Amendment that has been jeopardizing their life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.

Gene Ralno

Why object to "universal" background checks? These laws would severely punish tens of millions of mourning widows who failed to run background checks on those who were promised their dead husbands' firearms. Usually, those would be their children. But clearly, NONE OF THIS DEMOCRAT HYSTERIA IS JUSTIFIED and it won’t help them.

Universal background check laws are again being trumpeted to hoodwink owners with Bloomberg's rhetoric. Democrats hope owners won't read his 2018 data because it reveals gun homicides declined seven percent and injuries declined 10 percent. Fatal child shootings (under 18) declined 12 percent and unintentional shootings plummeted 21 percent.

What they really want is to register transfers between mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, uncles, cousins, friends, and neighbors. They're after inheritances, bequeathals, gifts and sales of inherited collections, however small they are. Even if you exempt family members now, never doubt that the democrats soon will add them. Bottom line is democrats want to choose who’s allowed to own firearms.

A transfer includes selling, giving, lending, returning, renting, or simply handing a firearm to another person or any action that causes a firearm to be transferred from one law-abiding person to another law-abiding person. The recent addition of “stranger-to-stranger” sales would only be effective if outlaws suddenly began asking the government’s permission to buy guns.

But amid all this high hysteria, democrats ignore and hope we won’t notice the fact that all the major crime indicators are trending downward. Bloomberg wants everyone to believe the nation is in crisis, suffering an epidemic, but folks, there is no crisis, no epidemic. They don’t want to admit that it’s OK for government to declare victory and watch the crime rates decline.

Since 1991, the murder rate has fallen by 45 percent and the overall violent crime rate has fallen by 48 percent. And since 1999, the statistical probability of a student being killed in school, on any given day by a gun has been one in 614 million. Your odds of winning the lottery are one in 300 million. The chances of your child being kidnapped are about one in 300,000.

Generally, shooting incidents involving students have been declining since the '90s. Fact is all but three mass shooters in recent history passed a background check. Two stole their rifles. The other one bought from a guy who assembled it from parts and sold it from home. Long guns are used in less than 2% of firearm homicides.

A footnote to data from 1998 through 2015 reveals the United States has about 4.6 percent of the world population, but makes up only about 1.1 percent of the mass public shooters over that period. Seems we shouldn’t strive to change that. During that time, citizens were buying a record number of firearms.

In 2018, more than 26 million requests were submitted to the National Instant Background System, a general indicator of firearms purchased. That number was exceeded only by 27.5 million in 2016 when purchasers were mortified that Hillary might be elected.

Democrats want US citizens to believe making the U.S. safer for criminals will make it safer for their victims. Ask yourself, do you believe being disarmed makes you safer? What kind of political leader would disarm his people while howling about the peril they face?

Lynne June

Gun ownership is not a conservative issue. Plenty of so-called liberals and moderates own guns. It’s called hunting or sport target shooting. It’s always easy, sexy, and reactionary to address the symptoms of gun violence but never the root causes. In London, this year alone where gun ownership Isn’t legal there have nearly 140 stabbing deaths. There have also been shootings in Britain by bad actors who get their hands on guns. Although I agree with some of the questions on this poll, telephone polls are meaningless with people screening their calls these days.

Tim True

Serious question for those conservatives whom I'm sure will be chiming in on this. What will it take for you to support reasonable gun restrictions? Slaughters like Sandy Hook obviously didn't matter. Lets hope it never happens, but those of you who spout the "from my cold dead hands" philosophy, are you saying that having a spouse, a parent, or one of your children killed by gun violence would not get you to change your mind and support legislation to impose gun restrictions?


i'm sure most people are for background checks for everything, relatively common sense. i think what inflames people the most is telling them what kind of firearm they are allowed to buy, honestly doubt that would fly but doesnt prevent them from trying anyway. sandy hook is a poor example, he shot his mother and took the firearms so other than not selling them in the first place, dont see how a background check would prevent that from occuring. Red flag wouldnt do anything either. in case you decide to argue, i'm full of holes due to being shot as a police officer so..i'm sympathetic, but also a realist in that removing certain guns wont change the result.

Mike Vasquez

Nothing. I am not responsible for criminal actions involving guns so I should not be punished by the government having my rights limited because of the actions of criminals.

Mike Vasquez

What you have to remember, behind every gun is a human being making the decision to shoot at someone. I would much rather work on preventing or eliminating the conditions or behavior that leads to that point instead of focusing on an inanimate object.


The real question is what do you consider "reasonable"? None of the gun laws being proposed would have prevented any of the very rare, but highly publicized incidents such as Sandy Hook. If a family member were to be killed by any means, I would blame the PERSON responsible. If a drunk driver crashes their car and kills a family, do we blame all drivers and try to ban cars? The reasonable action would be the blame the drunk driver. Luckily, the founders knew that the natural state of government was to seek to gain more and more power over its citizens, so they codified the limitations on the government. You can go read the debates between the Federalist and Anti-Federalist and how the Bill of Rights came to be included in the Constitution. These are not right granted by government. They are natural rights endowed by God and protected from government infringement by the Bill of Rights. What the democrats are attempting to do in Virginia is blatantly unconstitutional, which is why you see huge turnouts for the 2A sanctuary movement.


I’m a conservative who backs the 2nd amendment. I am fine with background checks on all firearm purchases. But tell me how that would have stopped Sandy Hook? It wouldn’t have because the KID wasn’t old enough to buy a weapon he used his mothers. It’s a non starter to ban AR type rifles for me. Someone can kill just as many with a handgun as an AR if they are shooting people who have no way to defend themselves. Case in point the VA tech shooter. I do believe mental health needs to be addressed. High capacity weapons are banned in DC, Baltimore, and Chicago. Yet they have some of the highest murder rates by guns in the country. When will you acknowledge criminals do not follow laws that’s why they are criminals. So we do you think banning a weapon or restricting them will stop any criminal/murderer from killing?


you are correct, sandy hook was a failure in parenting and this has been borne out by the overall investigation. the democrats proposals aim at registration and overall confiscation, even though they dont actually state that. honestly (and it pains me to say this) i'm actually with Lee Carter on this one. these policies are horrible and just spin people up


No support whatsoever is needed. Why do we need to bargain away God-given rights? Why do we need to compromise on something the founding fathers built into the Bill of Rights? As much as I hear things such as "are you saying that having a spouse, a parent, or one of your children killed by gun violence would not get you to change your mind and support legislation to impose gun restrictions?", how many of you anti-gunners have actually lost a spouse, a parent, or one of your own children due to gun violence? Not suicide by gun, but actual gun violence? I've been around firearms most of my adult life (I'm 51) and I don't fit the demographic (I'm Black American and not affiliated with the Democratic Party -- I'm not Conservative, but Independent).

I'm so tired of folks that are scared of guns that want others to be as scared as they are. It's a tool, but a tool that is guaranteed use/owership by the Bill of Rights. It requires no one else to agree or disagree, including national, state, and local government.. Use them or not, but don't tell me that I can't use it just because you needlessly fear things you don't understand. Do you do the same to the other Amendments? If you exclude the 2nd, any of the others can also be excluded, but people only focus on raping 2A. "We don't want your guns" is such a laughable statement nowadays because it's akin to blatantly smacking someone in the face but telling them you didn't do it.

Gun restrictions aren't needed. It's already against the law to murder,maim, threaten, or attack. Enforce what's already on the books. I'm not to give up a God-given right that is backed by 2A just so you can feel better...I've not murdered, threatened, or attacked anyone, ever, so why do I need to feel that I need to support something that will restrict me from exercising a right?

I've 3 kids and a loving wife. All of them encourage me to carry. They understand that it's a defensive tool. They understand that I carry in case I need it to protect them. There is no right to safety. That's a pipe dream no matter where you live. Every country that has tight gun restrictions still has issues with safety and when one guy with a knife can stab dozens of people before he's stopped, that's definitely a safety issue, but you can't stop human nature. Almost every single mass shooting involves a place that bans firearms, yet the criminal doesn't comply and kills dozens, primarily because they can't defend themselves and the criminal knows it. You might want to live under the assumption that everyone with a gun is bad, but I'm under the belief that if everyone does their part (by carrying and not cowering), the world would be a better place. An armed society is a polite society. This is why you don't see shootouts at gun ranges or any other place that has a large armed population.

When I see people give away their 1st, 4th, or any other right(s), maybe I'll a bit more understanding, but it's always the 2nd that's attacked.

Mike Vasquez

Strange as a Latino voter that I'm never getting notified of these polls, I'm strongly against these proposed gun control laws.


correct, i'm not sure who they are polling but i have never once been polled for anything..ever.


the sample size of the survey quoted was only 900 people, so you likely were not polled. these were likely targeted surveys to achieve the desired result.

Paul Benedict

I believe ‘red flag’ laws could easily be interpreted so that we could seize guns out of the hands of Democrats, since they are the ones most likely to harm others. That would definitely cut down on gun violence, but I fear activist judges will determine the law unconstitutional.

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