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New Poll Shows Americans’ Views on Stricter Gun Control

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

This month, voters in Oregon passed Measure 114, a piece of gun control legislation that would require state residents to take a training course and obtain a permit to buy a gun. The measure prohibits selling, possessing, and using magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Some law enforcement officials in the state have spoken out about it, saying they will not enforce the magazine limit. And a gun owners group filed a lawsuit challenging the legislation as unconstitutional. Gun sales in the state skyrocketed after the measure was passed, which Townhall covered.

A new poll from Gallup this week shows that Americans’ support for stricter gun control laws has receded since the mass shootings that took place in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York. 

The findings from the poll showed that 57 percent of American adults think that laws pertaining to the sale of firearms should be more strict. This is down from 66 percent in June. 

Thirty-two percent of respondents in the poll said that gun laws should be kept as they are now. Ten percent said the laws should be less strict. 

Gallup’s write-up pointed out that the number of Americans who support gun control laws typically spikes after deadly mass shootings, such as the shooting at Columbine High School in 1999 and Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2021: 

Support for stricter laws has risen after some of the worst gun violence in U.S. history. These include mass shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, in 1999; Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012; a Las Vegas music festival in 2017; and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in 2018.

Most recently, the May murders of 21 children and adults at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas and 10 people at a Buffalo, New York, grocery store preceded a 14-percentage-point increase in calls for stricter gun sale laws compared with October 2021.

Although there have been other high-profile mass shootings since the June poll -- including one at the Highland Park, Illinois, July 4 parade -- demand for stricter gun laws has declined, much like it did after previous highly publicized mass shootings. However, the current instance may also reflect public recognition of the federal gun law that was passed in June with bipartisan support in direct response to the Uvalde shooting.

In the findings, 86 percent of Democrats, 60 percent of independents and 27 percent of Republicans say that the laws that cover the sale of guns should be more strict. Gallup noted that these numbers among all three groups have dropped since June. Compared to one year ago, Democrats’ is five points lower.

Forty-six percent of Americans in the poll said there is a gun in their household. Thirty-three percent said they personally own a firearm and 13 percent said someone in their home owns a firearm. More than twice as many Republicans (48 percent) as Democrats (20 percent) personally own a gun.

“Americans' calls for stricter gun laws have fallen since June, when back-to-back massacres in a grocery store and a school resulted in an increased appetite for gun control,” Gallup concluded. “This pattern, whereby public support for tougher gun control spikes after prominent mass shootings and falls back as the memory of them fades, has been evident historically in Gallup polling.”

The poll was conducted from Oct. 3-20 among 1,009 American adults. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

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