Two-thirds back tougher gun laws, but Republican support drops: poll

Nearly two-thirds of Americans support tougher gun laws in the wake of two mass shootings that rocked the country in the last week, according to a new USA Today-Ipsos poll released on Wednesday

But the poll also found support among Republicans for such legislation has fallen.

The poll was conducted from March 23 to 24, one day after a deadly shooting at a Boulder, Colo., grocery store and less than a week after deadly shootings in Atlanta.

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Among those surveyed, 65 percent of respondents said that current gun laws should be stricter with 41 percent saying they should be “a lot more strict” than they currently are and 24 percent saying they should be “somewhat more strict.”

The percentage of those who believed gun laws should be “a lot more strict” dropped by about 9 percentage points from when Ipsos conducted the same survey in 2019.

Among Republican respondents, 12 percent said gun laws should be “a lot more strict,” a 20 percentage point drop from when the same survey was conducted in 2019.

Forty-four percent of Republican respondents said that they believe gun laws “are about right.”

"This is much more about a shift in the Republican base, and their leadership, than about the issue itself," Ipsos President Cliff Young told USA Today. "In these highly tribalized times, cues from leadership become especially important in how the public forms their stance around issues. The partisan cuing around gun reforms has changed among Republican leadership, and the Republican base has followed suit."

Following the shootings in Atlanta and Boulder, gun control has once again taken center stage in Washington, with President BidenJoe BidenBiden to provide update Monday on US response to omicron variant Restless progressives eye 2024 Emhoff lights first candle in National Menorah-lighting ceremony MORE urging Congress to ban assault weapons and close loopholes in background checks.

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Any legislation would likely face an uphill battle in the Senate where it would need the support of at least 10 Republicans to make any headway.

The poll also found that the mental health system, racism and white nationalism, and loose gun laws were the top three issues respondents believed are responsible for mass shootings in the U.S.

USA Today and Ipsos surveyed 1,005 U.S. adults aged 18 and over for the poll. The results have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.