After a string of mass shootings in America, support for stricter gun laws remains strong but differs according to political-party affiliation. A majority of Americans in the latest Gallup survey support stricter gun laws (57%), but overall support has dipped slightly since the spring, when 66% supported it.
The Oct. 3-20 Gallup Poll finds another 32% of Americans say gun laws should remain as they are now, and 10% would like to see the laws more lenient.
The latest poll was completed before the highly publicized shootings of three college students at the University of Virginia and the massacre at the LGBTQ night club in Colorado Springs.
After the May murders of 21 children and adults at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and massacre of 10 people at a Buffalo, New York, grocery store, there was a 14 percentage-point increase in calls for stricter gun sale laws compared with October 2021.
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.
Support for stricter gun laws in the U.S. differs sharply by political-party affiliation. Currently, 86% of Democrats, 60% of independents, and only 27% of Republicans say the laws covering gun sales should be stricter.
Independents' current support for stricter laws is 14 points higher than it was one year ago, while Democrats' is 5 points lower, and Republicans' is essentially the same.
A large number of Americans (46%) have a gun in their household, including 33% who say they personally own a firearm, and 13% who say another household member is the gun owner.
More than twice as many Republicans (48%) as Democrats (20%) say they personally own a gun. In addition, 66% of Republicans live in a household with a gun, while just 31% of Democrats do.
Gun ownership rises with income, in towns and rural areas as opposed to urban areas, in the South, and among men compared to women.
Young people under age 35 are less likely than those who are older to own a gun or live in a household with a gun.
Gallup points out overall support for stricter gun 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.
Gallup interviews a minimum of 1,000 U.S. adults aged 18 and older living in all 50 states and the District of Columbia using a dual-frame design, which includes both landline and cellphone numbers.
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