Our views of guns and gun control have evolved considerably – since March
Bottom Line: As is often the case a massive event/tragedy that captures the American imagination will often dramatically move public sentiment rapidly but temporarily. Consider, for example, that President George W. Bush's approval rating was 92% after 9/11. In the wake of the shooting at Stoneman Douglas and the ensuing wave of calls for gun control we saw public sentiment shift that dramatically increased the priority for increased gun control by the American collective. In fact, in March according to Gallup's ongoing issue surveying, a record 13% of Americans viewed gun control as the most important issue facing the country. Just a month later – that'd dropped by half with just 6% citing gun control as the biggest pressing issue. With the NRA annual event taking place gun control and related conversation has kicked up considerably this week and it's as good of a time as any to see what's real and what isn't when it comes to our collective desires for gun control and related policies.
Importantly, prior to the Stoneman Douglas shooting, 60% of Americans wanted additional gun control measures in the US. Now that sentiment has settled out a bit, where are we?
67% now want additional gun control.
So, sentiment is up and with 2/3rd's of adults desirous of additional gun control it's still a highly relevant issue at the federal level. At 67%, it's the highest it's been since 78% of Americans wanted stricter gun control in 1993. But what we continue to see is how partisan the issue of gun control remains. 90% of Democrats want additional gun control while just 41% of Republicans do. In terms of what has majority support across all groups – enhanced mental health screening, universal background checks and banning bump stocks. In other words, much of what was passed in Florida via the Marjory Stoneman Douglas School Safety Act would appear to also have solid support nationally as well.
Effectively the ban of bump stocks has already happened at the federal level as the President has taken executive action towards banning them and the company that manufactured them in the process of liquidation but there's certainly more room for additional reform that's desired by most. But then it's back to the priorities of most Americans.
At 6%, twice as many Americans believe that immigration reform is a higher priority let alone other issues.