The majority of Americans would rather see legislators pass gun control than gun protections, new research reveals.
A poll from NPR-PBS NewsHour-Marist reports that 60 percent of Americans believe it is more important to control gun violence, the highest in the last decade. Even among gun owners, 4 in 10 said they would like to see tougher restrictions.
In 2019, 65 percent of Americans felt as if their schools were safe from gun violence. In 2023, that number dropped to 57 percent.
Along party lines, 88 percent of Democrats want stricter gun control measures, whereas 67 percent of Republicans want to protect gun rights. Only 32 percent of Republicans say gun violence should be considered a priority.
62 percent of Americans said that their first reaction to news of a mass shooting is that the nation needs stricter gun control laws. An alarming 35 percent say their first reaction is that people should carry more guns, up from 25 percent in 2019. Only 4 percent are unsure.
However, the majority of Americans are still in support of "stand your ground laws” which allow someone to kill or injure someone in a public place if they believe their life is at risk. 58 percent are in support of such laws, with just 40 percent opposing.
27 percent of Americans say banning the sale of semi-automatic assault weapons would be the most impactful in reducing gun violence. 17 percent said mental health screenings for sales would make the most difference, with 13 percent expressing confidence in background checks at gun shows and other private sales. Only 10 percent believe allowing teachers to carry guns in the classroom would help. A concerning 20 percent did not think any of the options would provide a solution.
"Inaction by lawmakers in Washington on the issue of guns is clearly out of step with public opinion," Lee M. Miringoff, Director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, said in a statement. "In fact, Americans see a host of options to address growing concern over gun violence."