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New Poll: Do Americans Support Raising the Legal Age to Buy Guns?

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Last month, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos committed a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Nineteen students and two adults were left dead. 

Beforehand, Ramos shot his grandmother in the face and left her wounded in her home, according to The New York Times. But do Americans support the Democrats' new push for gun control?

A new poll conducted by Quinnipiac University found that Americans 74 percent to 24 percent support raising the minimum legal age to buy any firearm to 21 years old.

Broken down by political party, 91 percent Democrats support such policies. Seven percent of Democrats disagreed. Seventy-six percent of Independents support raising the minimum age to buy a firearm to 21, 22 percent disagree. Fifty-nine percent of Republicans support it and 39 percent disagree.

As for stricter gun laws in general, 91 percent of Democrats, 56 percent of Independents, and 32 percent of Republicans support stricter gun laws. Fifty-two percent of Americans think the country would be “less safe” if more people carried guns, while 37 percent think the country would be safer if more people carried. 

“There is near unanimous support (92 percent) for requiring background checks for all gun buyers, while 7 percent oppose requiring background checks for all gun buyers,” the poll write-up noted. “Half of Americans (50 percent) support a nationwide ban on the sale of assault weapons, while 45 percent oppose it.”

Respondents were pressed on what they think the “main cause” of mass shootings by young people in the United States is.

Americans were asked what they think is the main cause of mass shootings by young people in the United States. They say:

  • mental health issues: 40 percent;

  • availability of guns: 19 percent;

  • family instability: 17 percent;

  • social media: 10 percent;

  • entertainment such as movies, music, and video games: 7 percent.

There are big differences by party identification. Republicans think the main cause of mass shootings by young people is mental health issues (45 percent) followed by family instability (23 percent) and social media (10 percent). Democrats think the main cause of mass shootings by young people is the availability of guns (46 percent) followed by mental health issues (31 percent) and social media (9 percent). Independents think the main cause of mass shootings by young people is mental health issues (41 percent), family instability (19 percent), and the availability of guns (15 percent).

Quinnipiac asked respondents for their opinions of President Joe Biden. Registered voters gave Biden a negative 35 to 56 percent approval rating.

Americans were asked about President Biden's handling of...

  • the response to the coronavirus: 47 percent approve, while 46 percent disapprove;

  • the response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine: 42 percent approve, while 50 percent disapprove;

  • gun violence: 32 percent approve, while 59 percent disapprove;

  • the economy: 28 percent approve, while 64 percent disapprove.

"Economic concerns driven by inflation take President Biden back to his lowest job approval number and give him the worst assessment of how he is handling the economy ever," QU Polling Analyst Tim Malloy said in the findings.

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