Gun control: More Americans want stricter laws now than 2017, says Pew Research survey
The issue of gun violence is one of the most polarizing in American politics. Despite the presence of a strong pro-gun lobby, there is no dearth in effort to curb the prolifiration of arms. Gun violence is also being seen as one of the most debated topics in this pre-election season with candidates like Beto O’Rourke even suggesting the idea of mandatory buyback of weapons.
While the pro-reform voices have found it challenging to meet a violence-free society, a recent survey by Pew Research Center (PRS) has found a modest rise in support for stricter gun laws in the country in the last two years. Besides, more Americans are in favor of banning high-capacity ammunition magazines today than two years ago.
According to the survey, the share of Americans that wants stricter gun laws in the US has gone up from 52 per cent in 2017 to 60 per cent in 2019. On the other hand, those who feel that gun laws should be less strict have dropped from 18 per cent in 2017 to 11 per cent this year.
The share of Americans that backs banning high-capacity ammunition magazines has risen to 71 per cent in 2019, compared to 65 per cent in 2017, the survey added.
How the Democrats and Republicans see the issue
When seen from party-wise stands on the issue, a big divide still exists over the general idea of having stricter gun laws. While 86 per cent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents want stricter gun laws, only 31 per cent of Republicans and independents backing them seek the same. But while the share of Democrats backing stricter gun laws has increased 11 percentage points in the last two years, for the GOP, it is a seven-point rise.
The two parties are in agreement, however, when it comes to barring mentally-ill people from buying guns. While 91 per cent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents back it, the number of even higher among their opponents in the GOP -- 92 per cent. These positions have been largely unchanged since the question was asked for the first time in 2017.
Also, an overwhelming section in both the Democratic and Republican camps supported the idea of making background checks relevant when it comes to private gun sales and sales of weapons at gun shows. While 82 per cent of Republicans backed it, the number went up to 93 per cent among Democrats.
Gender-wise, while 64 per cent of women favored strong gun laws, the number was only 55 per cent among men.