Public support for new gun restrictions has fallen significantly, according to a poll released on Tuesday.
Support for stricter gun laws fell seven points in the new Pew Research poll. Agreement with the idea that gun laws are about right or too strict rose by the same amount. Overall, Americans are split nearly down the middle with 53 percent supporting stricter gun laws and 46 percent opposing them.
Support for stricter gun laws is down from 2019 and 2018, settling near the levels it was at in 2017. The five specific gun-control proposals included in the poll all saw a drop in support.
The deep division in American’s opinions on guns combined with the relative stability of that divide poses a problem for efforts by Senate Democrats and President Joe Biden to pass new gun-control legislation. Despite the return of mass shootings after a pandemic-induced pause and repeated calls from Democrats and gun-control advocates, Americans are less likely to support tightening gun laws than they were before the pandemic began. With Democrats’ gun-control proposals already facing an uphill battle on Capitol Hill, falling support for further restricting gun ownership is likely to add to the difficulty.
The four pro-gun proposals polled saw less fluctuation in support, with only permitless gun-carry seeing a bump by four points and the others not seeing any change of more than two points.
Americans remained almost perfectly divided on whether making guns harder to buy would have an effect on mass shootings with 51 percent saying it wouldn’t change anything or would make things worse and 49 percent saying it would make things better. Americans also sorted themselves almost exactly into three separate camps on the effect of increased gun ownership: 34 percent said it would lead to more crime, 31 percent said it would lead to less crime, and 34 percent said it would have no effect on crime.
The poll was conducted from April 5 to April 11. It surveyed 5,109 adults.
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