Support For Stricter Gun Laws—Including Among Republicans—Remains High, Poll Suggests

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Topline

Some 71% of Americans—including about half of Republican voters—say they want stricter gun control laws, a new poll from the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research suggests, two months after President Joe Biden signed the most major gun control legislation in decades to stem a rising tide of mass shootings in 2022.

Key Facts

About 80% of people believe gun violence is surging nationwide, and an even greater share (88%) believe preventing mass shootings is extremely or very important, according to the poll, which surveyed 1,373 adults from July 28 to August 1.

Out of all gun measures, there was the most support (85%) for federally required background checks on all gun purchases, including private sales and gun shows, while 83% of voters supported a federal law blocking those convicted of domestic violence from purchasing a gun.

The poll comes after a bipartisan group of lawmakers worked together to pass several gun control measures, including barring intimate partners convicted of domestic violence from purchasing guns and expanding background checks for gun purchases for those under 21.

About three-quarters of voters support setting a minimum age of 21 for gun purchases, the poll suggests.

Some 59% support a ban on AR-15 rifles—a weapon involved in many U.S. mass shootings, and one President Joe Biden has said repeatedly he hopes to ban—and similar semiautomatic weapons, with 83% of Democrats in favor, compared to 35% of Republicans, according to the poll.

Contra

Roughly 60% of voters also believe it’s important to make sure people can have access to guns to protect themselves, the poll found.

Surprising Fact

The survey found 1 in 5 people have personally experienced gun violence within the last five years or have a close friend or family member who has experienced an incident, such as being a victim of a shooting or being threatened with a gun.

Big Number

429. That’s how many mass shootings the U.S. has had resulting in at least four injuries or deaths in 2022, according to the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive. The U.S. is on track to approach a record of 692 mass shootings set in 2021, the highest number since the nonprofit began tracking shootings in 2014.

Key Background

Support for stricter gun control measures has remained consistently high in recent months, hitting record high numbers in June, following a massacre at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York and the deadliest school shooting since Sandy Hook in Uvalde, Texas in May, which left 19 children and two teachers dead. The attacks motivated a group of bipartisan lawmakers to come together once again to try to pass compromise legislation tightening some gun laws. The efforts were successful, and Biden signed the most significant gun control measures in decades into law in June. The bill stopped short of more aggressive measures long advocated for by many Democrats, including a ban on high-capacity magazines and raising the age to buy assault weapons from 18 to 21, while GOP lawmakers involved in negotiations were also met with criticism from some fellow Republicans for helping enact stricter laws.

Further Reading

AP-NORC Poll: Most in US want stricter gun laws (Associated Press)

Support For Gun Control Laws Hits Record High, Poll Finds (Forbes)

U.S. Mass Shootings Hover Near Record-Breaking Levels (Forbes)