More Americans than ever agree with the Supreme Court that the Constitution protects their right to carry a gun outside the home for self-protection.
That’s the conclusion of the latest poll from Marquette Law School. The university reported last Tuesday that 67 percent of adults approve of the Court’s 2022 decision in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, which struck down the state’s subjective gun-carry permitting scheme for violating the Second Amendment. That’s up three points from the same poll earlier this year and one done the year before. Similarly, disapproval dropped three points.
The poll also found a significant enthusiasm gap between those who support the ruling and those who oppose it. 39 percent of registered voters said they strongly support the Supreme Court’s decision in Bruen, the largest share. Only 11 percent said they strongly opposed the decision, the smallest share.
Bruen was popular despite the unpopularity of the Supreme Court generally and its specific decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned abortion protections granted in Roe v. Wade. Only 41 percent of respondents approved of the Court’s recent performance, while 59 percent disapproved. Their approval of Dobbs was nearly inverse to that of Bruen.
“A substantial majority, 65%, say they oppose the Dobbs decision striking down Roe, with 35% favoring the decision,” Charles Franklin, who directs the school’s polling, wrote in a piece about the poll. “On the Bruen case, 67% favor the decision, while 33% are opposed to the ruling.”
The numbers are further indication that Americans largely agree the Second Amendment provides them with a right to carry a gun in public for their own self-defense. Though few polling firms have asked about Bruen directly, the continued popularity of the ruling in Marquette’s poll suggests the positive feelings towards the Second Amendment decision identified in its early polling wasn’t a fluke. The general public’s support for gun carry, while not necessarily surprising given the decades-long liberalization of carry laws across the country, could further complicate efforts by deep-blue legislatures to resist or undermine Bruen.
Professor Franklin said the approval of the ruling that expanded the Court’s interpretation of gun-rights protections has remained consistently high since it was handed down.
“Support for the ruling in Bruen has been similarly stable when asked in September and November, with just under two-thirds in favor of the ruling and one-third opposed,” Franklin said. “A differently worded question asked in 2022 found similar support for the decision among those who had heard of the ruling.”
Still, support for Bruen did fall at least partially along partisan lines. 91 percent of Republicans either strongly or somewhat favored the ruling, while 57 percent of Democrats strongly or somewhat opposed it. Independents came down on the side of Bruen by a margin of 71 percent to 29.
Franklin also noted that partisan split ran through every question asked about the Court and its decisions.
“Liberals are more in favor of two conventionally liberal decisions, on same-sex marriage and anti-discrimination protection for LGBT workers, while conservatives are less so,” he wrote. “Conservatives are more in favor for conventionally conservative decisions on abortion, guns outside the home, and banning the use of race in college admissions, while liberals are less so.:”
But he pointed out that those who liked the decision in Bruen also tended to like the High Court itself more regardless of what party they associated with, suggesting some respondents were persuaded to approve of the Court based on what it held in the gun-rights case.
Of the five cases Marquette asked about, Bruen was the third most popular. It sat over ten points behind landmark decisions protecting individuals from discrimination based on sexual orientation and barring racial considerations in college admissions. But it was also two points ahead of the decision that legalized gay marriage and 32 points ahead of Dobbs.
Marquette Law School’s survey was conducted between November 2nd and 7th, 2023. It interviewed 1,010 adults nationwide. It has a margin of error of +/-4.2 percentage points.