Where Democrats and Republicans differ on gun control

After what looks like a inflexible sequence from high profile mass shootings, Americans are once again debating whether the country needs tougher gun regulations. Many lawmakers and activists argue that, even in a country as bitterly polarized as the United States, some gun control measures actually attract broad support – if the Americans actually vote for the measures they say they support is another question. However, when comparing specific questions based on the party’s response, there is a gap.

Consider background checks. Morning Consult and Politico asked about this gun control measure in March 2021. How do you think Republicans and Democrats responded?

What percentage of Republican Other Democratic do you think respondents said “strongly” or “somehow” support requiring background checks for all gun buyers?

Guess what

This is close enough to consensus, but we can already see that even widely popular measures like background checks are not as attractive to some Republican voters as they are to Democratic voters. Let’s take a look at some other measures. In April 2021, the Pew Research Center called for people with mental health problems to be prevented from purchasing weapons. How do you think Republicans and Democrats responded?

What percentage of Republican Other Democratic Do you think respondents said “strongly” or “somehow” in favor of preventing people with mental illness from buying guns?

Guess what

Again, we see a lot of agreement on both sides of the political spectrum. But this question was a bit vague: what does it mean to prevent people from buying weapons? And which mental illnesses should be included? An investigation by the APM Research Lab into extreme risk protection orders tried to dig deeper by asking about these so-called read “red flag”.. These laws would allow family members, police or other officials to ask for an ERPO, a court order to temporarily take the guns off someone who could harm themselves or others. When asked if they supported family-initiated ERPOs, how do you think Republicans and Democrats responded?

What percentage of Republican Other Democratic you believe respondents said they “strongly” or “somehow” support permission for a family member to seek a court order to temporarily take away weapons if they believe a gun owner could harm themselves or others ?

Guess what

Again, the majority of both Democrats and Republicans support this type of measure, although the gap is wider. When asked whether they would support the police in initiating such an action, support dropped among both groups, to 78% among Democrats and 66% among Republicans.

How about a law banning assault weapons, something like that Congress passed in 1994 (but let it expire 10 years later) and an option that President Biden was recently promoted?

What percentage of Republican Other Democratic Do you think respondents said “strongly” or “somehow” in favor of a ban on assault-style weapons?

Guess what

While Democratic support remains high, Republican support drops dramatically, even though the previous ban enjoyed bipartisan support when it passed.

Another proposal he has was launched by politicians allows teachers to carry weapons to school. How far do you think Republicans and Democrats are in supporting this measure?

What percentage of Republican Other Democratic Do respondents think they said “strongly” or “somehow” in favor of allowing teachers and school officials to carry guns to K-12 schools?

Guess what

Although the majority of Republicans support this idea, it is not as popular among them as other measures – and it is clearly unpopular with Democrats.

But getting gun control laws approved isn’t just about whether voters support certain measures, it’s about too how passionate the voters are that those measures will work. If a voter generally supports a new law but doesn’t think it will actually change much, he may not be as active in supporting it. A 2019 poll from ABC News / The Washington Post asked this:

What percentage of Republican Other Democratic Do you think respondents said they were “very” or “rather” confident that the passage of stricter gun control laws would reduce mass shootings in this country?

Guess what

However, when asked to improve mental health monitoring and treatment, Republicans were much more confident that this would reduce mass shootings, even slightly more than Democrats: 78% of Republicans said they were “very “or” rather “confident that this would work and 75 percent of Democrats agreed.

Some differences in thinking about gun control may have to do with people owning guns.

What percentage of Republican Other Democratic do you think respondents said, or does anyone in their family own a gun of any kind?

Guess what

While most Americans don’t own a gun, a small fraction own a lot, which they are because the United States has more guns than people.

While both Democrats and Republicans support some gun control measures, broad support for broad gun control is its constitutional knot thanks to the Second Amendment. In April, YouGov / The Economist asked Americans what was most important: people’s right to possess weapons or to protect people from gun violence. (Respondents might also say if they thought both were equally important.)

What percentage of Republican Other Democratic Do you think the interviewees said they believe that people’s right to possess weapons is more important than protecting people from gun violence?

Guess what

While some Republicans (49%) said both were equally important and a majority of Democrats (57%) said that protecting people from violence is more important, the difference is striking. As the country discusses how to put an end to mass shootings like that they happen in the United States every daythis gap may be the most significant of all.