Anyone willing to believe their eyes and not their television is seeing that things are getting out of hand. Crime is experiencing a dramatic rise and unprovoked violent assaults are increasing with regularity. So, it’s no surprise that a recent Gallup Poll shows support for gun control measures at a near decade low.
Gun Control Support Reaches Lowest Point in Almost a Decade
As the saying goes, “never let a good crisis go to waste.” This is specifically true for gun control advocates. Over the years we have seen this play out on numerous occasions, whenever a shooting takes place. With every event comes a wave of politicians and news reports about the evils of firearms. This is no accident and is completely by design.
According to the latest Gallup report, “Americans’ support for stricter gun laws has typically risen in the aftermath of high-profile mass shootings and fallen during periods without such events. Changes in the party occupying the White House may also influence preferences for gun laws. Generally, the public favors stricter laws when Republicans are in office and less strict laws when Democrats are.”
Although the Parkland shooting drove support to 67%, the highest since 1993, last year started the decline. From last year to now, support for gun control fell five percentage points to 52%, the lowest since 2014. Similarly, 35% of US adults think laws regarding the sale of firearms should stay the same, and 11% favor less strict laws.
However, even though support is down, we cannot overlook the effects of the Parkland shooting. According to a report by CNN, “Not only did support for stricter gun laws stay higher for more than a year following the Parkland shooting, state legislatures took unprecedented actions to limit guns.”
In a 2018 report by Pew, the gun-control movement saw unparalleled success. As a result, “states across the country, including 14 with Republican governors, enacted 50 new laws restricting access to guns.”
A Country Divided
According to Gallup, support, or lack thereof, for gun control measures is separated along party lines. Last year’s decline was mostly due to a 14-point drop among Republicans, while Democrat support rose to 91%. However, perhaps the most telling figure is among independents, with a 15-point plunge in support.
Not surprisingly, while Democrats remain unanimous, Republicans and independents are not so unified. Although a 56% majority of Republicans want to keep laws as they are, 24% want stricter laws and 20% want less strict laws. Likewise, 45% of independents favor stricter laws and 41% want them left as they are. Conversely, only 12% of independents are in favor of less strict laws.
But right now, Democrats have the platform and are wasting no time utilizing it. On the three-year anniversary of Parkland, President Biden (or whoever writes for him) said in a White House release, “This Administration will not wait for the next mass shooting to heed that call. We will take action to end our epidemic of gun violence and make our schools and communities safer.”
He continued, “Today, I am calling on Congress to enact commonsense gun law reforms, including requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets. We owe it to all those we’ve lost and to all those left behind to grieve to make a change. The time to act is now.”
Lowest Support for Handgun Ban on Record
Adding to the decline in support for gun control measures, the support for handgun bans is at its record-lowest point. The recent Gallup report shows a continual downtrend in support for handgun bans since 1959, when it was 60%. However, since that time it has continued to decline to its now record low of 19%. This comes after a 6-point drop this past year alone.
As with support for gun control, support for handgun bans seems to fall along party lines. Particularly, 14% of independents support a handgun ban, a 16-point drop since 2019, with 9-points since 2020. Similarly, only 6% of Republicans support a ban, while 40% of Democrats do.
Regarding their poll for handgun bans, the Gallup report states, “Gallup has measured public support for a complete ban on handguns in the U.S. for all but the police and other authorized persons since 1980, and before that asked a similar question about “a law which would forbid the possession” of “pistols and revolvers.””
Ultimately, polls are not an exact measure of public opinion, because many may be leery of making their opinion known. However, the dramatic increase in firearm sales over the past two years, coupled with this poll, provide a pretty clear illustration of the public’s opinion of the state of our union.