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Gallup: Support for Gun Control Dropped Ahead of Midterm Elections

New polling data released by Gallup in October showed a modest drop in public support for gun control in the United States just weeks before midterm elections are scheduled to take place.

According to the poll, conducted at the beginning of the month, 61 percent of Americans surveyed said they want tougher gun laws — down from 68 percent in March. While this number is still relatively high compared to other years, it reinforces the idea that gun control is far less popular in the absence of highly politicized shooting incidents.

While there was some noticeable crossover, support and opposition for increased gun control broke down mainly along partisan lines. Unsurprisingly, almost 9 in 10 Democrats polled signaled support for idea that current gun laws are not enough, with just 3 in 10 Republicans saying the same. Gallup notes that Republican support shot up to 41 percent following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School in Parkland, Florida.

Data was also broken down between gun owners and individuals who own no guns. Gallup found that Americans who don’t own guns are twice as likely to call for increased gun control. A whopping 73 percent of non-gun owners support stricter laws, compared to 38 percent of gun owners. Researchers noted that gun owners are more likely to support keeping laws the way they are, rather than advocating for more lenient rules.

Support for gun control has varied wildly in the United States over the past few decades. When Gallup first asked Americans this question in 1990, almost 80 percent said they thought gun laws at the time were too lax. This declined after Congress passed the Brady Bill in 1994. In 2011, Gallup reported that just 41 percent of Americans wanted more gun control measures.

All of this underscores something that has been made very obvious this year — the public at large is far more reactive in the immediate aftermath of crisis events. The Parkland shooting was marked by high casualties, and exacerbated by the sheer incompetence demonstrated by local law enforcement both before and during the shooting. Nevertheless, support for gun control waned as the event began to fade from public visibility as media outlets focused on other things.

This modest drop in support for gun control may also be indicative of political attitudes. Midterm elections are just weeks away, and many Democrats have made gun control a major campaign issue. The March for Our Lives movement, organized by student survivors of the Parkland shooting, has been very vocal in encouraging its young supporters to register to vote.

While this seven percent drop in support for gun control may seem mildly positive for gun control opponents, it’s important to note that overall support has increased from year to year since 2011. Second Amendment supporters must not become complacent by relying on fickle public attitudes. There will never be a time to give up the fight to protect our constitutional rights.

~ Firearm Daily


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