A survey conducted about a week after the most deadly mass shooting in the nation’s history found what Morning Consult says is evidence of “a growing appetite for stricter gun control measures” among Republicans.
The Morning Consult survey conducted October 5-9 among 1,996 registered voters, found a slight uptick in support for “stricter gun control measures” in general following Stephen Paddock’s massacre of 58 people and injury of nearly 500 in Las Vegas on October 1.
Morning Consult found a 5-point increase since June in support generally for stricter measures among Republicans, with a total of 49% supporting stricter laws, while 45% opposed:
While 45 percent of GOP voters said they still oppose more regulation on gun policy, the fervor of that dissent has dropped considerably since June 2016: 27 percent of GOP respondents now say they are strongly opposed to stricter measures, compared with 42 percent who took that stance roughly 14 months ago. (The margin of error on the GOP subsamples is plus or minus 4 percentage points.)
While 49% of Republicans supported some form of stricter measures, a higher percentage of all respondents, 64%, supported stricter gun laws, with less than a third, 29% opposing them. That, too, is a net increase in support since June, when Morning Consult asked the same question following the attack on a Republican congressional baseball practice:
Among all voters, 64 percent said they supported stricter gun control laws and 29 percent opposed them — a net increase of 7 points from June, when 61 percent backed such legislation and 33 percent opposed it. A majority of voters from gun-owning households (54 percent) also supported tightening regulations on guns.
The survey went on to ask voters about specific gun control measures, most of which Republicans backed overwhelmingly, including:
- universal background checks (87%)
- barring those on a no fly-list or watch list from purchasing guns (83%)
- creating a national database on gun sales (69%)
- banning “assault-style” weapons (65%)
- banning high-capacity ammunition magazines (64%)
- banning sales of weapons to those deemed dangerous to law enforcement due to mental health issues (89%)
- requiring background checks for private gun sales and sales at gun shows (82%)
One proposal that is gaining support among both Republicans and Democrats in both houses is a ban on so-called “bump stocks,” the device used by Paddock to make his semi-automatic rifles fire more rapidly. The NRA has come out in support of “additional regulations” on bump stocks, though it expressly rejects an outright ban.
Morning Consult notes that a recent online survey found “voters showed broad support (79 percent) for banning bump stocks, including 75 percent of Republicans and 74 percent of respondents from gun-owning households.”
Past trends show that while mass shootings are often briefly followed by upticks in general support for stricter gun control measures, that support tends to decline somewhat overtime and in the light of specific proposals. However, the broad support for some form of stricter regulation on bump stocks suggest that it is more likely than previous failed gun control measures of getting passed. Meanwhile, pro-gun control Democrats are already talking about a new “assault rifle” ban.