Republican and Democratic voters agree that parents should face criminal charges if their children commit crimes using a parents’ gun, according to a recent poll.

Roughly 82 percent of Democrats, 66 percent of Republicans and 72 percent of independents said they support holding parents legally responsible if their child commits a crime with a gun they got from their parents, according to a poll of 1,500 U.S. adults.

The poll was conducted in early December, a few weeks after Ethan Crumbley, a 15-year-old student, allegedly killed four students and injured seven in a shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan. Crumbley allegedly conducted the shooting using a gun purchased by his parents Jennifer and James Crumbley.

Crumbley’s parents are now facing involuntary manslaughter charges, accused of allowing their son to access the gun used in the shooting. The Crumbleys’ lawyer, Shannon Smith, said the parents had locked the gun away, but Smith didn’t explain how their son was able to get it.

Democrats Republicans parents punished children gun crimes
A recent poll has shown that Republican and Democratic voters agree that parents should face criminal charges if their children commit crimes using the parents’ guns. In this photo, a student has the words “Don’t Shoot” written on her hands as she joins other students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after walking out of their school to honor the memories of 17 students and teachers killed during a mass shooting at the high school, on March 14, 2018, in Parkland, Florida.
Joe Raedle/Getty

However, the aforementioned poll also showed differences between Republicans and Democrats on other issues involving shootings and firearm reform.

While 75 percent of Democrats said they worried that a school shooting could happen at a school in their area, only 33 percent of Republicans and 27 percent of independents felt the same.

About 60 percent of Democrats agreed that protecting people from gun violence is more important than the right of people to own guns. However, just 7 percent of Republicans and 27 percent of independents felt the same way.

Conversely, 34 percent of Republicans said it’s more important to protect the right of people to own guns than it is to protect people from gun violence. When asked the same question, only 5 percent of Democrats and 21 percent of independents agreed.

In another vast difference of opinion, 80 percent of Democrats said they’d favor making gun laws more strict, but only 23 percent of Republicans and 43 percent of independents agreed.

The poll was conducted by YouGov, a British market research and data analytics firm, and The Economist, an international weekly newspaper focused on business and international politics. The poll had a plus or minus 3 percent margin of error.

It’s actually quite rare for parents to face criminal charges when their children commit crimes using their firearms.

Only 23 states and Washington, D.C., have laws requiring gun owners to lock their guns away, out of the reach of children. Michigan doesn’t have such a law, but the state has a law making it illegal for children to own guns. The Crumbleys said they had purchased the gun used in the shooting as a Christmas gift for their son.

About 76 percent of the firearms used in school shootings came from the homes of parents or close relatives, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said in a 2019 assessment reported by NPR.

The reason that parents rarely face charges is because the laws aimed at preventing children from accessing guns aren’t always enforced by local prosecutors, legal experts told NPR.

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