Bans on AR-15s, AK-47s, and similar firearms continue to lose support.
48 percent of registered voters said they oppose a nationwide ban on the sale of “assault weapons,” while 47 percent said they support one, according to a Quinnipiac University poll. The poll, released on Thursday, found Republicans and independents opposed a ban while Democrats supported one. Similarly, it found women wanted to see a sales ban while men did not.
Americans between 18 and 34 years old were most likely to oppose a ban, with 53 percent saying they don’t want one, and respondents over 65 years old were the only age group to see majority support for a ban, with 54 percent in favor.
The poll also found support for an assault weapons ban has declined in recent months. Support for a sales prohibition fell five points since Quinnipiac asked the question in April 2021, and opposition rose the same amount. The poll is the latest to show a decline in support for banning sales of AR-15s and similar guns. Despite a spat of high-profile mass shootings driving increased support for new gun restrictions, support for this particular policy has declined in polls from numerous major pollsters for the last year or so.
It is also the second major poll in a row to show more Americans now oppose an assault weapons ban than support one. An ABC News/Washington Post poll published earlier this month found that most Americans are against a ban.
The trend complicates efforts by President Joe Biden and his party to institute a new national ban, even though he hasn’t backed down from making a ban his marque gun proposal. While the then-Democrat-controlled House of Representatives passed an assault weapons ban last year, the Democratically-controlled Senate refused to take up the bill. Prospects for a ban to move through Congress this year are even dimmer given the new Republican control of the House.
The drop in popular support for a national AR sales ban comes as such bans face increased legal scrutiny. Federal courts have blocked several state and local level bans as unconstitutional in the wake of the Supreme Court’s recent landmark gun case.
Still, the bans have experienced something of a resurgence in blue states since the Uvalde shooting. Delaware enacted the first new statewide ban since 2000 last year, and Illinois followed a few months later. Legislators in several other blue states, including Colorado and New Mexico, are considering their own bans.
The Quinnipiac poll was conducted between February 9th and the 14th. It interviewed 1,580 adults across the United States with an error of 2.5 percentage points. It included 1,429 self-identified registered voters with a 2.6 percentage point margin for that group.