In a new nationwide survey, Quinnipiac asked self-identified registered voters about topics ranging from President Trump’s new tariff proposals to securing America’s schools by arming teachers. The answers from respondents concerning Quinnipiac’s questions on gun policy are worth noting.
Quinnipiac surveyed 1,125 individuals over the course of three days using a random digit dialer. The results showed that 24 percent of respondents identified as Republicans, 30 percent identified as Democrats, 41 percent identified as Independents, and 6 percent identified as something else.
When the survey asked respondents whether they supported stricter gun laws or not, 63 percent said they were supportive, which was down three percent from a Quinnipiac survey last month. Unsurprisingly, 61 percent of respondents, down six percent from last month, support a “nationwide ban on the sale of assault weapons.” This isn’t surprising, as the news media often cite polls showing a majority of Americans favor an assault weapons ban.
What was revealing, however, was the followup question. Quinnipiac asked, “Do you support or oppose a nationwide ban on the sale of all semi-automatic rifles?”
Shockingly, the respondents were split, as 48 percent would support such a measure, while 48 percent would oppose it. But for either side, due to the survey’s margin of error, support or opposition could be over 50 percent. Five percent of those surveyed did not know what they thought of the proposal or did not answer the question.
While banning firearms is a more controversial issue – and one where politicians are not going to budge, regardless of public opinion – other policy proposals before Congress appear to have bipartisan support from the American people. Here are some other notable findings from the survey:
- 78 percent of respondents support raising the legal age to purchase any firearm to 21.
- 63 percent of Republicans and 93 percent of Democrats support the measure.
- 89 percent of respondents support allowing a police officer or family member to petition a judge to have firearms removed from someone that may be at risk for violent behavior.
- 89 percent of Republicans and 94 percent of Democrats would favor this legislation.
- 91 percent of people surveyed supported banning people with restraining orders against them for “stalking or domestic, sexual, repeat violence” from possessing or purchasing a firearm.
- 58 percent of those surveyed do not support arming school teachers, but 82 percent support armed security officers in schools.
Based on the results above, if Congress were to pass a bill raising the legal age to purchase firearms or allow for a petition to be filed in court to confiscate a potentially violent person’s guns, backlash from the American people would, surprisingly, be minimal. Furthermore, it appears that an overwhelming majority support armed security at schools. The disagreement lies on who should act as that security; trained officers and retired military veterans, or teachers themselves? Or both?
These policy surveys can give the American people a glimpse into what the general public is feeling, as well as inform Congress about the mood of the nation on specific issues. It is clear that there are issues the American people can come together on, and Congress should be able to follow suit. Other policy decisions face an uphill battle.