Voters’ focus on gun policy rises: survey

A Ruger AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, center, the same model, though in gray rather than black, used by the shooter in a Texas church massacre two days earlier, sits on display with other rifles on a wall in a gun shop Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, in Lynnwood, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

American voters are more concerned about gun control policies now than they were a few months ago, before a series of deadly mass shootings rocked the nation, according to a new survey from Monmouth University.

About 38 percent of Americans say gun control is an “extremely important” issue, according to the survey, up from 32 percent in May.

And the proportion of voters surveyed who say it is “somewhat important” fell from 21 percent in May to 14 percent in August, while respondents who agree gun control is “not important” dropped from 12 percent in May to 10 percent in August.

The polling comes about three months out from the November midterm elections. The economy topped the list of the most pressing issues for voters surveyed ahead of Election Day, with 24 percent agreeing that it was the most important concern for them.

Abortion and gun control are tied as the second most important issue among those surveyed, with 17 percent of voters selecting each of the two issues as their biggest concern, according to the Monmouth University poll.

That’s up from a Monmouth poll in May, when 9 percent of voters listed gun control as their top concern. It also marks an increase from 13 percent of voters who said the same in a previous survey conducted in August 2018.

The new survey was conducted by telephone from July 28 to Aug. 1 among 808 adults in the U.S. The margin of error is 3.5 percentage points.

It comes after a gunman opened fire inside a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y., in May, killing 10 African Americans, just weeks before another shooter killed 19 children and two adults inside an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

And on the Fourth of July, a gunman opened fire into a crowd during an Independence Day parade in Highland Park, Ill., killing seven.

In June, President Biden signed into law the most significant federal gun control legislation in nearly 30 years, which incentivizes states to pass red flag laws and expands background checks for legal gun buyers 21 years old and younger, among other measures.

Democrats have pushed for universal background checks and other more enhanced policies, with the House passing a bill to ban assault weapons last week. The measure is unlikely to pass in the evenly divided Senate, however, due to widespread Republican opposition.

Tags Gun control Gun control gun policy mass shootings Midterm elections Monmouth University Monmouth University Survey Voters
See all Hill.TV See all Video