Several policy proposals that would further restrict access to guns or ammunition continue to receive support from majorities of Americans. Smaller shares of Americans support several more permissive policy proposals.
Roughly nine-in-ten U.S. adults (88%) favor preventing people with mental illness from purchasing guns, while 79% favor increasing the minimum age for buying guns to 21 years old.
Sizable majorities also support banning high-capacity ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds (66%) and banning assault-style weapons (64%).
Four policy proposals that would ease restrictions on guns, including allowing people to carry concealed guns without a permit, draw less support from the public.
Half of Americans favor allowing teachers and school officials to carry guns in K-12 schools, while 44% say people should be able to carry concealed guns in more places. Fewer than a third of Americans favor shortening waiting periods for gun purchases (30%) or allowing concealed carry without a permit (24%).
Views by party
Overwhelming majorities of both Democrats (89%) and Republicans (88%) favor preventing people with mental illnesses from purchasing guns. Majorities in both parties support increasing the minimum age for buying guns to 21 years old, though support for this policy is more widespread among Democrats (90%) than Republicans (69%).
There are wider partisan differences on the other policy proposals in the survey. While large majorities of Democrats favor banning high-capacity ammunition magazines (85%) and banning assault-style weapons (85%), fewer than half of Republicans support either of these two proposals (45% and 42%, respectively).
By contrast, while seven-in-ten or more Republicans favor allowing teachers and school officials to carry guns in K-12 schools (74%) or allowing people to carry concealed guns in more places (71%), fewer than three-in-ten Democrats support these policies. Republicans are also more likely than Democrats to favor shortening waiting periods for people who want to buy guns legally (45% vs. 16%) and allowing people to carry concealed guns without a permit (40% vs. 9%), though both of these proposals have more opposition than support among those in both parties.
Views of gun policies among gun owners, non-owners
While nearly nine-in-ten gun owners (87%) and non-owners (89%) both favor preventing people with mental illnesses from purchasing guns, there are wider gaps between gun owners and non-owners on other policy proposals.
Non-owners are at least 30 percentage points more likely than gun owners to favor banning high-capacity ammunition magazines (78% vs. 45%) or banning assault-style weapons (77% vs. 43%). They are also 18 points more likely to favor increasing the minimum age for buying guns to 21 years old, though majorities in both groups favor this (86% vs. 68%).
Gun owners are 37 points more likely than non-owners to favor allowing people to carry concealed guns in more places (68% vs. 31%), and 30 points more likely to favor allowing teachers and school officials to carry guns in K-12 schools (69% vs. 39%).
Few non-owners favor shortened waiting periods (22%) or allowing concealed carry without a permit (14%). Gun owners are more supportive of these policies, with 44% favoring shorter waiting periods for people who want to buy guns legally and 41% supporting allowing people to carry concealed guns without a permit. Still, majorities of gun owners oppose these policy proposals.
Gun owners’, non-owners’ views by political party
Across seven of the eight policy proposals asked about in the survey, gun owners within each political party are more likely than non-owners of the same party to favor policies that expand access to guns and ammunition.
Non-owners are more likely to favor policies that are more restrictive – though differences are generally larger among Republicans and Republican leaners than among Democrats and Democratic leaners.
At the same time, the wide partisan differences on these questions are seen among both gun owners and non-owners (Two-in-ten Democrats and 45% of Republicans say they personally own a gun).
For example, nearly nine-in-ten Democrats who do not own a gun favor banning high-capacity magazines (89%), a view held by a smaller – though still wide – majority of Democrats who report owning a gun (73%). Meanwhile, a narrower majority of Republicans who do not own a gun (60%) favor this policy, compared with roughly half as many Republican gun owners (31%).
A large majority of Republicans who own guns (85%) favor allowing teachers to carry guns in K-12 schools, as do 64% of Republicans who do not own a gun. Among Democrats, 34% of gun owners favor this, as do 25% of non-owners.