• February 4, 2023

Views on gun laws after Atlanta, Boulder show even deeper divide

According to a USA TODAY / Ipsos poll, two-thirds of Americans support stricter gun laws, but Republican support has declined significantly as the issue assumes a stronger partisan occupation than it did a few years ago.

In the surveyAfter two mass shootings within a week, 65% say gun laws should be stricter – a sizeable majority, but that’s down 7 percentage points from a USA TODAY / Ipsos poll in August 2019.

Support has dropped from 54% among Republicans two years ago to 35%. Democratic support has remained roughly the same at 90%.

“This is much more about shifting the Republican base and leadership than the problem itself,” said Ipsos President Cliff Young. “In these heavily tribalized times, leadership cues become particularly important as the public formulates their attitudes on issues. Party-political cues about gun reform have changed among the Republican leadership, and the Republican grassroots have followed suit.”

The online poll of 1,005 adults, conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday, has a confidence interval of plus or minus 3.5 points.

The double-digit decline in GOP support eases political pressure on Republican officials to approve new gun laws. The party’s largest group of voters, a majority of 44%, say current gun laws are “about right”.

The results highlight the rocky terrain ahead of us two measures Passed by the Democratic House this month to tighten background checks on gun buyers and give the FBI more time to review them. Even proponents acknowledge that supremacy in the evenly-divided Senate – where it would take 60 votes to break a filibuster and put the proposals to the vote – seems like a distant prospect.

Even so, 61% of Americans say they want the Senate to pass the House bills, including the Democrats, by a wide margin. A bipartisan majority backed the legislation in 2019, but now Republicans are evenly divided.

The poll came after eight out of three people were killed in a mass shooting last week Spas in the Atlanta area. Another gunfight on Monday killed 10 people, including a police officer a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado.

More:The Boulder grocery rampage follows the rise in mass shootings in 2020

What is known in Washington is that Democrats are calling for stricter gun laws and Republicans argue they are doing little to stem the bloodshed. Opponents of stricter regulations are on high alert. “You want to take your guns away,” warned the Second Amendment Foundation in a donation email sent Tuesday morning, less than 18 hours after the boulder shoot.

Even President Joe Biden, who has long advocated stricter gun laws, warned after making gloomy remarks on Tuesday: “We have to act.” When a reporter asked if he had the political capital, he replied, “I hope so,” and raised his hand with crossed fingers. He added, “I don’t know.”

The results show some notable changes since a similar USA TODAY / Ipsos poll in August 2019 following mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.

USA TODAY / Ipsos survey in 2019:Who is to blame for mass shootings? A bipartisan agreement on this

Now a total of 57% say the loose arms laws bear at least some responsibility for mass shootings in the United States. That’s 10 points less than in 2019. Among Republicans, the 51% majority who blamed loose arms laws in 2019 has almost halved, to 27%. Democrats’ views haven’t changed much at 85%.

Republicans are significantly less likely to blame gun manufacturers and the NRA, up 17 points to 20%. In contrast, three in four Democrats say gun manufacturers and the NRA are responsible for this. Overall, 73% blame the country’s mental health system.

A series of mass shootings shaped the daily lives of Americans. Almost one in four states that they have felt unsafe in public spaces in the past few weeks, 8 points more than two years ago.

Jack

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