A close up of the Supreme Court building
A close up of the Supreme Court building / Stephen Gutowski

Poll: Pro-Gun Supreme Court Ruling Remains Broadly Popular

Nearly two-thirds of Americans approve of the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision recognizing an individual’s right to carry a gun for self-defense.

Those are the results from the latest Marquette Law School poll released on Wednesday. It found 64 percent of Americans favored the core holding in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to carry a handgun in public. Those findings align with the school’s previous polling that found widespread support for the ruling.

“A solid majority, 64%, favor Bruen’s affirmation of a right to possess a firearm outside the home, while 36% are opposed to the decision,” the school said in a press release. “There has been little change in these views in polls from September 2023 to the present.”

The persistent popularity of Bruen suggests Americans like having the option of armed self-defense, even in public settings. That popularity could complicate efforts by lawmakers affected by the ruling to effectively undo it with new restrictions. After the Supreme Court invalidated its subjective concealed carry permitting law in Bruen, New York passed a response law that sought to drastically limit where those with permits could legally take their guns. Other states that saw their permitting schemes similarly impacted followed suit shortly after. Those Bruen-response bills have faired poorly in legal challenges, and the poll may indicate those efforts are out of line with what the public supports.

However, the poll’s findings are limited to some degree since Marquette found about 42 percent of respondents hadn’t heard enough about Bruen to form an opinion. Additionally, support for the ruling has fallen about three percent from when Marquette asked back in November. But that put it back in line with the approval rate seen in October 2023 and December 2022.

The Bruen decision also comes in far more popular than the landmark abortion decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which came during the same term and overturned Roe v. Wade. That decision has an approval rating of just 33 percent. Bruen is more popular than the Supreme Court itself, which only 40 percent of Americans approve of–a near total reversal in opinion from four years earlier.

Bruen’s holding has also produced a significant intensity gap between supporters and opponents. Those who strongly supported the decision comprised the largest group at 38 percent, while those who strongly opposed it made up the smallest at 12 percent. Those who somewhat supported Bruen also beat out those who somewhat opposed it.

While the poll asked about Bruen’s core holding on gun carry, it didn’t ask about the more significant implication of the Court’s opinion. Though the decision’s immediate practical effect was to strike down New York’s restrictive carry permitting law, the standard it set for accomplishing that has had a major impact on Second Amendment cases at all levels of government across America. The Bruen test, which focuses on whether a modern gun restriction fits with the nation’s history and tradition of firearms regulation, has led to courts striking down dozens of gun laws throughout the country and become a source of disdain among gun-control advocates.

The Court has not decided any other Second Amendment cases since it handed down Bruen in June 2022. However, in November, it held oral arguments in United States v. Rahimi and is expected to release a ruling later this year. The defendant in that case is challenging the federal prohibition on gun possession by those subject to a restraining order due to a domestic violence incident on the grounds that it violates his Second Amendment rights.

Marquette asked respondents if the Court should uphold or strike down the prohibition. 42 percent said they hadn’t heard enough about the case to form an opinion. But 53 percent said they would favor a decision upholding the law. Just five percent said they would oppose upholding the law.

The school conducted the poll between February 5th and 15th, 2024. Marquette asked 1,003 American adults their opinions during that time. The poll used the Social Science Research Solutions (SSRS) Opinion Panel, and it had a margin of error of +/- 4.3 percent.

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Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019


Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019

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