A large majority of Americans – including gun owners – continue to support stronger policies to prevent gun violence than are present in current federal and most state law, according to a new national public opinion survey conducted by researchers with the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.
The survey is a follow-up to one conducted by the same researchers in early 2013, shortly after the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut that left 26 dead.
The results are published online in Preventive Medicine.
“Two years after the tragedy in Newtown, our study of public support for two dozen specific gun policies found a large majority of Americans continue to favor a range of gun-safety policies,” says lead study author Dr. Colleen Barry, an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Support was strongest – with little difference between gun-owners and non-owners – for universal background checks, barring people with temporary restraining orders for domestic violence from having guns and stronger regulations of licensed gun dealers.”
Support for requiring background checks for all gun sales remained high, with 85 percent of gun owners and 83 percent of non-owners favoring the policy. In the 2013 survey, 84 percent of gun owners and 90 percent of non-owners supported background checks for all gun sales. Support for banning assault weapons among all respondents decreased from 69 percent in 2013 to 63 percent in 2015, and support for banning the sale of large capacity ammunition magazines decreased from 68 percent to 60 percent. Notably, the small erosion in support for these policies occurred almost entirely among non-gun-owners.