So how does America feel about guns? The following surveys and statistics will provide an overview of the attitudes and opinions people have toward guns.

General attitudes & public opinion towards guns

How terrorist attacks and school shootings alter public opinion about guns

When asked how recent terrorist attacks and school shootings in the U.S. have altered their feelings about guns, one survey found that…

  • 49% had increased negative feelings
  • 23% reported increased positive feelings
  • 12% had no response
  • 9% said their feelings hadn’t changed
  • 7% reported neutral feelings. (Pels, 2016)

 

Who Americans blame for gun violence

  • A Time/CNN poll found that, when asked: “What is the primary cause of gun violence in America?”, 37% said the way parents raise their children was the primary cause; 37% thought influences of pop culture were to blame; and 23% blamed the availability of guns. (Scherer, 2013)

What people talk about on social media when it comes to guns:

  • Second Amendment: 44%
  • Barack Obama: 27%
  • Concealed carry: 12%
  • Gun violence: 6%
  • Gun control: 5%
  • Self-defense: 2%
  • Background checks: 2%
  • Mental health: 1%
  • #Notoonemore: 1% (Pearlstein, 2016)

 

What Americans think about gun laws & gun restrictions

A recent Pew Research survey poll conducted in spring of 2017 found that MOST Americans support tighter gun control laws. The number of people in support of…

  • Preventing the mentally ill from buying weapons: 89%
  • Background checks for private sales & gun shows: 84%
  • A Federal database to track gun sales: 71%
  • A ban on assault style weapons: 68%
  • A ban on high capacity magazines: 65%

(USA Today, 11-7-2017)

Some other statistics:

  • 75% of Americans say Congress needs to do more to reduce gun violence. (Redbook, October 2018, p. 61)
  • A 2015 survey by Johns Hopkins University researchers found 85% of gun owners support universal background checks. (Wenner-Moyer, 2017)
  • A Gallup survey in March 2018 found 67% of Americans want tougher gun laws, the highest percentage since 1993. (Gregory et al., 2018)
  • 97% of Americans support universal background checks, according to a Feb. 20, 2018 national poll by Quinnipiac Univ. (Jordan, 2018)
  • When asked about the laws covering gun sales, a Marie Claire survey found that 62% thought they should be more strict, 29% thought they should be left as they are now, 8% thought they should be less strict, and 1% had no response. (Pels, 2016)
  • Other surveys have found that 92% of the country supports background checks for gun buyers, and 63% support limiting the capacity of gun magazines. (Dickinson, 2013A)
  • A USA Today / Gallup survey released on Dec. 27 shortly after the Sandy Hook massacre found that although 58% of Americans wanted tighter gun laws, the majority still opposed an assault weapon ban. Furthermore, 74% opposed any law that would ban handguns compared to 24% in favor – the largest gap in decades.
  • A CBS / New York Times poll conducted in April 2010 found that 40% of Americans thought gun-control laws should be stricter and 42% felt they should be kept as they are. Just 16% said they should be less strict. (Cohen, 2010)
  • Much to the chagrin of the NRA, even a poll of NRA members conducted in May 2012 by Republican pollster Frank Luntz found that 3 out of 4 people thought background checks should be universal – completed before every gun purchase. Nearly two-thirds also supported a measure that would require gun owners to alert police whenever their guns are lost or stolen. (Dickinson, 2013A)
  • Whereas 22% of Republicans say they would only vote for candidates who shared their belief on guns, only 14% Democrats said the same. (Scherer, 2013)
  • A Time/CNN poll in 2013 found 55% favor stricter gun-control laws, 44% oppose. Fifty-six percent thought it was too easy to buy guns under existing laws, 40% said it was about right, and 3% said it is too difficult. (ibid)
  • Of the Americans with a gun in the home, a majority feel that the government is trying to take their guns away, despite the fact that such legislation has never been seriously proposed. (ibid)