A new poll from ABC and the Washington Post published on Wednesday found a significant drop in support for new gun-control laws, especially among young people.
The number of Americans supporting enacting new gun laws over protecting gun rights fell from 57 percent to 50 percent, a seven-point drop from when the poll was last conducted in 2018. The number of Americans favoring gun rights jumped from 34 to 43 percent, a nine-point jump. The difference between the two positions narrowed by 16 points overall.
The sharpest decline in support for new gun-control measures came among 18 to 29-year-olds and Hispanics. Both groups saw a 20 percent drop. Rural Americans and strong conservatives saw a 17-point drop.
The downturn in gun-control support comes even after multiple high-profile mass shootings in Colorado, Indiana, and Georgia. The ABC/Washington Post poll is the second in as many weeks to show support for gun control waning. A Pew Research poll released on April 21 found the same seven-point drop in support for stricter gun laws.
The polling trend lends support to the idea new gun owners are beginning to change their attitudes on guns. The National Shooting Sports Foundation, which represents gun makers and dealers, estimated there were 8.4 million new gun owners in 2020. Since gun owners tend to oppose new gun-control measures at a higher rate than non-gun owners, the drop in polling support for new gun laws may be a result of those new gun owners changing their minds.
If the changing attitudes of new gun owners result in a lower baseline of support for new gun-control measures, it could have a significant impact on gun politics in America.
The poll also found little support for President Joe Biden’s (D.) efforts thus far to institute new gun measures through a mix of legislation and executive action. Only 28 percent approved of what he is doing. 32 percent said he was doing too much, while the same percentage of respondents said he was doing too little.
The question of how Biden is handling the gun issue currently divides Americans largely along party lines. While 60 percent of Republicans said the president is doing too much on guns, only 41 percent of Democrats said he was doing the right amount. Another 47 percent of Democrats want him to do more. The most common response from independents was that Biden is doing too much, which 36 percent said.
The poll of 1,007 randomly selected adults was conducted by phone between April 18 and April 21. It has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.