Skip to site content

Support for Gun Control Laws Jumps After Parkland Shooting

A majority (69 percent) of U.S. adults support stricter gun control legislation following the Parkland, Florida, school shooting, according to a poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research (AP-NORC) released on March 23.

This is an 8-point increase from October 2017 and a 14-point increase from October 2013.

By comparison, 22 percent said gun laws should remain as they are (a 5-point decline from October 2017) and 9 percent support less strict laws (a 2-point decline from October 2017).

Respondents were asked to share their views of seven specific policy reforms, with six of the seven receiving majority support:

  • A federal law preventing mentally ill people from purchasing guns: 85 percent support; 7 percent oppose.
  • Increased funding for mental health screening and treatment: 85 percent support; 4 percent oppose.
  • A federal law requiring background checks on all potential gun buyers, including private sales and gun shows: 84 percent support; 7 percent oppose.
  • Allowing courts to prevent people who are considered a danger to themselves or others, but have not been convicted of a crime, from owning a gun: 78 percent support; 11 percent oppose.
  • A nationwide ban on devices that convert semiautomatic guns to function like automatic guns, also known as “bump stocks”: 70 percent support; 17 percent oppose.
  • A nationwide ban on the sale of AR-15 rifles and similar semiautomatic weapons: 58 percent support; 29 percent oppose.

The only policy proposal without majority support was training for arming school teachers and administrators, with 38 percent approving and 49 percent disapproving.

A majority of respondents (59 percent) did not have a gun in their homes, while 38 percent did.

Nearly half (47 percent) lived in suburban areas, 27 percent in urban areas and 23 percent in rural areas.

The political affiliation of respondents was Democrats (33 percent), Republicans (27 percent), independent (23 percent) and none (16 percent). Forty percent described themselves as moderate, 35 percent as conservative and 22 percent as liberal.

The full report is available here.