by Jim Nintzel
Two years after the failure of Senate legislation to expand background checks on gun purchases, the public continues to overwhelmingly support making private gun sales and sales at gun shows subject to background checks. Currently, 85% of Americans – including large majorities of Democrats (88%) and Republicans (79%) – favor expanded background checks, little changed from May 2013 (81%).Partisan Views of Gun ProposalsBut in the abstract, there's still a significant split in whether gun rights should be curtailed:
The latest Pew Research Center poll of 2,002 adults, conducted July 14-20, finds that opinions about other gun policy proposals also are largely unchanged from two years ago, shortly after the December 2012 school shootings in Newtown, Conn.
Nearly eight-in-ten (79%) favor laws to prevent people with mental illness from purchasing guns, 70% back the creation of a federal database to track all gun sales, while a smaller majority (57%) supports a ban on assault-style weapons.
Almost identical shares of Republicans (81%) and Democrats (79%) support laws to prevent the mentally ill from buying guns. But other proposals are more divisive: 85% of Democrats favor creation of a database for the federal government to track gun sales, compared with 55% of Republicans. And while 70% of Democrats back an assault-weapons ban, only about half of Republicans (48%) favor this proposal.
Currently, 50% say it is more important to control gun ownership, while 47% say it is more important to protect the right of Americans to own guns.Read the whole thing here.
Since December 2014, when support for gun rights reached a two-decade high, the share prioritizing gun rights has fallen five percentage points, while the percentage saying it is more important to control gun ownership has increased four points.
The balance of opinion on whether it is more important to control gun ownership or protect gun rights has been more closely divided in recent years than it was in the early 2000s or 1990s. From 1993-2008, majorities said it was more important to control gun ownership than to protect gun rights.