America has reached a near consensus on the need to pass gun safety laws and prevent gun violence in the United States. Support for stronger gun laws is widespread among both Democrats and Republicans, and even among gun owners, especially for lifesaving policies like universal background checks and extreme risk protection orders. Our experts track the latest poll numbers, which show overwhelming support for the solutions to gun violence our communities so desperately need.
MAJORITY OF AMERICANS SUPPORT STRONGER GUN LAWS
Support for gun safety reform has not waned. Polls continue to show that the majority of Americans want to see stronger laws enacted.
- Quinnipiac (May 2019): 61% of Americans support stricter gun laws in the United States; up from 56% when this question was asked in April of 2018. Among Democrats, 91% voice support stricter gun laws.
- NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll (February 2019): A solid majority of Americans, 59%, say their first reaction when hearing about mass shootings is that the country needs stricter gun laws. Only a quarter say their first thought is that more people need to carry a gun.
- CNN/SSRS News Poll (August 2019): 60% of Americans favor stricter gun control laws, including 85% Democrats.
- Gallup (October 2018): 61% of Americans feel that the laws covering the sale of firearms should be made more strict than they are now.
AN INCREASING NUMBER OF AMERICANS ARE CONCERNED ABOUT GUN VIOLENCE
As American families continue to grapple with active shooter drills, breaking news about deadly mass shootings, and the daily scourge of gun violence in their communities, their concern about the problem continues to escalate.
- Reuters/Ipsos (February 2019): 85% of Americans report being concerned over gun violence in the United States and 65% of parents are worried about sending their child to school because of gun violence. These concerns blur partisan lines: 95% of Democrats and 80% of Republicans are worried about gun violence and 73% of Democrats and 59% of Republicans worry about sending their children to school.
- NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll (February 2019): 53% of Americans are concerned that a mass shooting could happen at a school in their community.
- Quinnipiac (March 2019): 73% of voters—including 95% of Democrats, 52% of Republicans, and 74% of independents—believe that more must be done in the United States to address gun violence.
- Gallup (June 2019): The percentage of American voters very dissatisfied with US gun laws has nearly doubled in recent years, jumping from 21% in 2008 to 40% in 2019.
Across the board, surveys continue to show overwhelming support—including among gun owners—for universal background checks. These results are a clear call for Congress to work across party lines to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals.
- Quinnipiac (May 2019): 94% of Americans support requiring background checks for all gun buyers—including 92% of Republicans and 98% of Democrats. Even gun owners show high support for background checks, with 90% expressing support for requiring background checks for all gun buyers.
- Reuters/Ipsos (February 2019): Broad support on both sides of the aisle was measured for expanding background checks to include sales at gun shows and between private individuals, with 92% of Democrats and 78% of Republicans expressing support.
- Gallup (March 2018): 89% of Americans believe policies requiring background checks for all gun sales would be effective at preventing mass shootings in schools.
REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS SUPPORT STRONGER GUN LAWS
When it comes to public perception about certain legislative proposals to strengthen gun laws, voters across party lines are in agreement on major policy issues.
- Reuters/Ipsos (February 2019): Policies such as raising the legal age to buy a gun from 18 to 21 (Democrats 82%, Republicans 63%), tracking gun sales through a federal database (Democrats 90%, Republicans 73%), banning high-capacity ammunition clips (Democrats 84%, Republicans 58%), banning military-style assault weapons (Democrats 86%, Republicans 56%), and banning semi-automatic weapons (Democrats 79%, Republicans 49%) receive majority or near majority support from both parties.
- Quinnipiac (May 2019): 92% of Democrats and 65% of Republicans support requiring individuals to obtain a license before being able to purchase a gun.
- NPR/APM (August 2018): Americans on both sides of the aisle support extreme risk protection order (ERPO) laws. 85% of Democrats, 70% of Republicans, and 67% of gun owners support family-initiated ERPOs, while 78% of Democrats, 66% of Republicans, and 60% of gun owners support allowing police-initiated ERPOs.
CONFIDENCE IN CONGRESS’S ABILITY TO ACT IS LOW
Despite the fact that voters on both side of the aisle support stricter gun laws and express concern for how gun violence will impact their families and communities, they have little faith that Congress will do anything to address the problem.
- Reuters/Ipsos (February 2019): Democrats and Republicans are not confident that things will change when it comes to gun laws. Just about four in ten Democrats (38%) and Republicans (44%) are confident that their elected representatives understand their respective views on gun ownership, and fewer than one-third of Democrats (29%) and Republicans (30%) believe that their elected representatives will do something this year to improve gun laws in the United States.
- CBS News Poll (February 2019): When thinking about the political debate over gun laws, 64% of Americans reported feeling frustrated and 39% angry. 75% of Americans don’t think it’s likely that President Trump and Congress will pass any laws that make significant changes to gun policy.
SUPPORT FOR THE NRA CONTINUES TO FADE
As the NRA continues to tie itself to an unpopular president, their support among Americans has plummeted. People are turned off by an NRA leadership and gun lobby that has stifled any debate over strengthening our gun laws.
- Gallup (June 2019): NRA favorability has dropped from 58% in 2015 to 48% in 2019.
- Huffington Post/YouGov (August 2019): 46% of Americans have an unfavorable view of the NRA, while only 35% have a favorable view.
- New York Times/GQR (June/July 2019): 48% of voters have an unfavorable view of the NRA and 41% have a favorable view.