Washington

After Texas Shooting, Republican and Independent Voters Drive Increase in Support for Gun Control

65% of voters back tougher gun laws, up from 60% after the Buffalo shooting earlier this month

Biden addresses gun control following mass shootings
President Joe Biden addresses from the White House the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that left nearly two-dozen children dead on Tuesday. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

The deadly mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, has sparked an increase in support for stricter gun control measures since last week, according to a new Morning Consult/Politico survey

Backing for Stricter Gun Control Among Republicans, Independents Jumps After Uvalde School Shooting

Voters were asked whether they support or oppose stricter U.S. gun control laws after the following mass shootings:

Surveys were conducted among a representative sample of roughly 2,000 registered voters each, with unweighted margins of error of +/-2 percentage points. Figures may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

Voters’ increased support for gun control

  • According to the Wednesday survey, 65% of voters favor stricter gun control laws in the United States, up from 60% in a survey conducted after a May 14 mass shooting in Buffalo, N.Y. It marks a similar level of support for gun restrictions as measured in a survey following the 2018 mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla. 
  • Since last week’s survey, the share of Republicans in favor of tougher gun laws increased from 37% to 44%, mirroring a level of support that had been fairly steady during Donald Trump’s presidency but declined after President Joe Biden took office last year. 
  • Two in 3 independent voters said they want stronger gun laws, up 10 percentage points from the post-Buffalo shooting survey. 

Uvalde’s impact on voter sentiment on gun control

Although the survey was conducted just one day after the Tuesday shooting, which took the lives of 19 elementary school students and two teachers, the event had near-immediate salience with the public: 52% of voters said they had seen, read or heard “a lot” about the massacre at Robb Elementary School, along with another 36% who heard some about it.

The latest massacre, carried out by a man who is believed to have legally purchased his weapons on his recent 18th birthday, prompted yet another call for congressional action on gun control measures, with Biden telling the nation in an address that “it’s time to turn this pain into action.” 

While just over a third of voters (37%) expect Congress to pass stricter gun control laws over the next year, many policies aiming to tamp down on violence have broad and bipartisan support from an electorate that largely expects more — not fewer — mass shootings and gun violence incidents over the next few years.

 

Voter support for various gun-control policies

  • Nearly all voters — with little division between Democrats and Republicans – support mandatory background checks on all gun sales (88%), expanded screening and treatment for mentally ill people (87%) and a ban on sales of all firearms to people who have been reported as dangerous to law enforcement by a mental health provider (84%).
  • Two in 3 voters would support a nationwide ban on firearms in schools and college campuses (66%), assault-style weapons (67%) and high-capacity ammunition magazines (69%), including roughly half of Republican voters.  
  • Half of the electorate (54%), driven by three-fourths of Republicans, back equipping teachers and school staff with concealed firearms to respond in the event of a school shooting, as a number of Texas GOP officials have suggested.