Georgia voters remain deeply divided over whether there should be a ban on assault weapons, according to a recent poll by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Almost 51% of registered voters polled say they support a ban on rifles such as the AR-15 and AK-47. A little more than 45% oppose restrictions, and about 4% either didn’t know how they felt or refused to answer the question.
The poll was conducted Oct. 30 to Nov. 8 by the University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs and has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.
» Interactive: See poll results
» Related: How — and why — we conducted this poll
» PDF: Complete poll crosstabs
Retired preschool teacher Beverly Hales, a 68-year-old Canton resident, told the AJC that she supported restrictions on the weapons.
“I think everybody probably needs a gun to defend their own home but not an assault weapon,” she said.
Macon resident Andre Taylor, a 35-year-old electrician, was conflicted about a potential ban on assault weapons.
Though he owns an AK-47, he said didn’t believe they needed to be readily available to the public. He said he’s only used the weapon at the gun range, but over the years his views have shifted.
“It’s a form of protection, but at the same time I feel like where I’m at with my growth and my livelihood and my walk (with God) and my journey I don’t need it anymore,” Taylor said. “When guns get into the wrong hands, it just causes chaos and turmoil and pain. I feel like that type of weapon — think of the actual name of it: assault.”
Feelings on a ban fell mostly along party lines.
About 77% of Democrats polled said they support banning assault weapons. A little more than 71% of Republicans said they opposed a ban. Those who identified as independent voters were split on the issue — with just over 47% in support and nearly 48% opposing a ban.
Staff writer Tia Mitchell contributed to this article.