In late April, House Democrats proposed new restrictions on gun purchase and ownership to address gun violence. Political practitioners would benefit from the reminders in the recent Pew Research.(May 2021). While 72% of Americans believe that gun violence is a big issue, we are far from consensus on how to fix it.
Reminder: Guns are Embedded in American Culture
- Just under half of America lives in a house with a gun (44%)
- About a third of Americans own guns (Half of Republicans and just under a fifth (18%) of Democrats)
- The two most common reasons for owning a gun were personal protection (63%) and hunting (40%)
- Gun violence worries are driven by population density. 35% of rural Americans consider it a serious issue compared to 65% of urban dwellers.
Public Support for Gun Reforms Has Waned
In 2019 support for gun reform was at a high of 60%. However, after a year of political violence and pandemic, support for gun reforms has fallen to 53%. More concerning is that 42% don’t believe stricter gun purchase laws would reduce mass shootings.
Areas of Broad Bipartisan Support
Fortunately there are areas of agreement for policy changes:
- Background checks to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. 90% D/85% R
- Background checks at all gun shows and private sales 92% D/70%R
- Requiring permits for concealed carry 92% D/ 65% R