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Fewer Americans prioritizing new gun laws compared to peak after Parkland shooting: poll

Fewer Americans prioritizing new gun laws compared to peak after Parkland shooting: poll
© Karen Ducey/Getty Images

Fewer Americans support prioritizing new gun control laws compared to a peak in 2018 after the shooting in Parkland, Fla., according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll released Wednesday.

Fifty percent of Americans say passing new gun control legislation should be a priority, a drop from 57 percent in 2018, which represented a high-water mark for the issue after the fatal shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. 

Meanwhile, 43 percent of Americans said protecting the right to own guns should be a bigger priority, a jump from 34 percent three years ago.

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The survey comes as the nation reels from a string of mass shootings. After a lull in gun violence in 2020 during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, high-profile shootings in Atlanta, Indianapolis, Boulder, Colo., and elsewhere have thrust the issue of gun control back into the national spotlight.

While those shootings have thus far not produced as much enthusiasm for gun control as the Parkland shooting, many of the Americans surveyed still said they felt strongly about the issue either way. Of the 50 percent who support prioritizing gun control, 42 percent said they feel strongly. Of the 43 percent who said protecting gun rights should be a priority, 38 percent felt strongly. 

President BidenJoe BidenFauci says school should be open 'full blast' five days a week in the fall Overnight Defense: Military sexual assault reform bill has votes to pass in Senate l First active duty service member arrested over Jan. 6 riot l Israeli troops attack Gaza Strip Immigration experts say GOP senators questioned DHS secretary with misleading chart MORE has come out in support of a slate of measures on the issue, including an assault weapons ban and a limit on magazine capacity.

The House, where Democrats have a narrow majority, recently passed legislation boosting the window for background checks for gun purchases and expanding background checks on all private and public sales. However, virtually every Senate Republican opposes those measures, and it’s unclear if all 50 Democrats in the upper chamber back the bills.

When asked about Biden’s handling of efforts to pass new gun control measures, 32 percent of Americans said he was doing too much, another 32 percent said he was doing too little and 28 percent said he was doing the “right amount.” 

The Washington Post-ABC News poll surveyed 1,007 adults from April 18 to 21 and has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.