January 31, 2013

Most Support Background Checks for Gun Purchases

While the issue of gun control remains divisive, there are clear areas of agreement when it comes to a number of gun policy proposals. Fully 85% of Americans favor making private gun sales and sales at gun shows subject to background checks, with comparable support from Republicans, Democrats and independents.

Similarly, 80% support laws to prevent mentally ill people from purchasing guns, with broad support across party lines.

The bipartisan consensus breaks down when it comes to other proposals. Two-thirds of Americans (67%) favor creating a federal database to track gun sales, but there is a wide partisan divide between Democrats (84%) and Republicans (49%).

A smaller majority (55%) favors a ban on assault-style weapons; Democrats (69%) also are far more likely than Republicans (44%) to support this. Similar partisan divides exist when it comes to banning high-capacity ammunition clips or the sale of ammunition online.

On proposals dealing with school safety, 64% overall favor putting armed security guards and police in more schools. On the other hand, 57% oppose more teachers and school officials having guns. That option is particularly divisive across party lines: 56% of Republicans would like to see more teachers and school officials armed, compared with just 23% of Democrats. Read more