A new study in the journal Preventative Medicine has found that younger Americans are less supportive of gun control measures than their older counterparts, and that support for gun control among young adults didn’t noticeably increase after high profile shootings like the attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
The study’s authors aren’t exactly “gun nuts.” In fact, co-author Daniel Webster, who is the Bloomberg Professor of American Health at Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health, is a long-time supporter of gun control measures. I’m sure he and his colleagues were hoping to find that younger Americans were more receptive to Bloomberg’s anti-gun messaging, but it doesn’t look like that’s the case.
This study uses data from two nationally representative surveys fielded in 2017 and 2019 to compare public support for gun policies: (1) between young adults age 18–29 years and adults age 30 and older, and (2) between young adults in 2017 and young adults in 2019, before and after the Parkland shooting. Relative to adults age 30 and older, young adults had lower support for 16 of 20 gun violence prevention policies examined. Public support was largely unchanged between 2017 and 2019 among survey respondents ages 18–29; however, support for requiring a safety test for concealed carry decreased significantly among young adults between 2017 and 2019. Despite owning fewer guns and finding gun violence prevention important generally, young adults appear to have lower support for policies that regulate guns compared to older adults.