Poll: Declining Support For New Gun Control Legislation

Poll: Declining Support For New Gun Control Legislation Poll: Declining Support For New Gun Control Legislation No firearms or weapons permitted on property sign at Brightwood Elementary School, Sunday, April 19, 2021, in Monterey Park, Calif. (Kirby Lee via AP)

By Brian Freeman | Wednesday, 28 April 2021 09:37 AM

Public support for prioritizing new laws to reduce gun violence has declined from a high 3 years ago, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll released Wednesday.

The survey found that 50% of Americans back enacting new legislation to reduce gun violence. That number was down from a peak of 57% after the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Despite the drop in support, the 50% backing is more than the 43% of Americans who said protecting the right to own guns should be a more important priority, which is up from 34% just 3 years ago.

This latest poll was conducted following several recent mass shootings, including 8 people killed at Atlanta-area Asian spas, 8 murdered at an Indianapolis FedEx warehouse, and 10 killed at a Colorado grocery store.

President Joe Biden, who earlier this month enacted executive actions regarding gun violence, has faced increased pressure to bring about stricter firearm legislation and policies.

He also has vowed to push for new legislation that will enact sweeping changes to gun control laws, although achieving this goal will be extremely difficult in a closely divided Senate.

Other results from the poll include:

  • The latest survey showed 42% of Americans said they "strongly" believe that enacting new laws should be a priority, while 38% say they strongly believe that protecting the right to own guns should be prioritized. Three years ago, strong backing for enacting new laws outpaced strong support for protecting gun rights by a 50% to 31% margin.
  • More than 80% of Democrats continued to back passing new gun laws, approximately the same percentage as in 2018, but opinions have shifted among Republicans and Independents.
  • Among GOP supporters, 76% said that protecting the right to own guns should be a higher priority, up from 58% in 2018.
  • Among Independents, 48% said protecting the rights of gun owners should be prioritized, with 43% prioritizing gun violence laws. Three years ago, the views of Independents were dramatically different, as 58% backed prioritizing new gun laws and only 33% said protecting the rights of un owners was more important.
  • Thirty-two percent of Americans said Biden is doing too much to enact new laws trying to reduce gun violence, while 32% also said he is doing too little. Twenty-eight percent said the president is doing the right amount.
  • Among Repblicans, 60% said Biden is doing "too much" to pass new laws to reduce gun violence, while approximately half of Democrats say the president is doing "too little," including 56% of liberal Democrats. Independents roughly were split across too much, too little, and the right amount.

The survey was conducted by telephone among a random national sample of 1,007 adults, with 75% reached on cellphones and 25% on landlines. Results had a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.

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