A poll released Monday finds stark differences in partisan support for stricter gun laws in 2020, with a record high from Democrats and a record low from Republicans
The Gallup findings suggest views on gun regulation became increasingly polarized during this year’s election season.
According to the poll, just 22 percent of Republicans support stricter gun laws, compared to 85 percent of Democrats.
The results, from a telephone survey of a sample of 1,035 adult U.S. residents between Sept.30 and Oct. 15, have a margin of error of 4 percent.
Although Republicans have historically been in favor of the Second Amendment and Democrats in favor of increased gun regulation, the 63-point difference between the two parties is the “highest on record” in the past 20 years, according to Gallup.
Support for stricter gun laws among Republicans saw a 14-point decrease from 2019 and is the “lowest for the group over the past 20 years” says Gallup. In comparison, data showing Democrat or Independent support of stricter gun laws are “near the highest recorded” since 2000, the poll found.
Amidst differences, Gallup claims “Americans are less likely than they have been since 2016 to call for increased gun control,” reflecting the lowest level of support for stricter laws overall since 2016.
Some 57 percent of Americans are in favor of stricter gun laws, a 7 percent decrease from 2019.
According to the poll, a majority of American women were in favor of implementing stricter gun laws, with 67 percent in support, and 4 percent in favor of less strict laws, with the rest seeking no change.
In comparison, American men were only 46 percent in favor of stricter gun laws, with 15 percent seeking less strict gun laws and 39 percent in favor of no change.
The poll found that Americans living in cities were 65 percent in favor of supporting stricter gun laws, and only 6 percent wanted less strict regulations. Americans who lived in rural areas had the exact same statistics as American men.
This reflects data that those in rural areas are already more likely to own a gun than those in urban settings, according to research by the Pew Research Center in 2017.
The region with the highest amount of support for stricter gun laws was the East, with 68 percent in favor of stricter laws and only 10 percent seeking less gun regulation.
The region with the lowest support for more strict gun laws was the South, with 49 percent in support of stricter laws, 45 percent seeking no change, and 6 percent seeking less strict gun laws.
In line with less support around strict gun laws, support for a ban on handguns is almost the lowest it’s been in 40 years, at 25 percent, according to Gallup.
The data is even more important as Americans fared a historic election year, and gun sales for left-leaning Americans rose.
Fear about the outcome of the presidential election drove citizens to consider guns more than ever, with ammunition and product shortages reflecting more purchases than usual and an American fear of the “possibility of violence on election day,” said a Vox article.
The mix of emotions combined with the ability to be armed is a “toxic brew,” says an NPR article, and indicates that “conditions are ripe for conflict and maybe even violence in the U.S..”
“But when it comes to gun ownership there’s something uniquely American that cuts across party affiliation and social boundaries — leaving liberals and conservatives jostling for ammunition because they want to brace for whatever comes next,” said the New York Times
The demographic trends show that “Americans’ appetite for gun control is the lowest it has been since 2016,” said Gallup.
This summary was prepared by TCR news intern Emily Riley.