Gun control support slipping among independents, Republicans

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Polling on gun control is largely irrelevant, in my opinion. It shouldn’t matter what the masses think because it’s a basic, constitutionally protected right that’s not subject to popularity contests.


But, a lot of people don’t get that. They think that if something is popular, it should pass and damn the constitutional protections for our rights.

A year ago, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act was passed.

A lot of people celebrated that passage, though many thought more was needed. A lot of us lamented its passage and have only been given even more reason to lament.

And at the time, there was support for it.

That support is starting to slip.

Republican support for gun restrictions is slipping a year after Congress passed the most comprehensive firearms control legislation in decades with bipartisan support, according to a poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

That’s led to a gap between Democrats and the GOP on the issue of guns that has widened in the last year. Democrats have consistently outpaced Republicans and independents in their belief that gun laws in the U.S. should be strengthened, but GOP support has dropped even further behind, the poll found.

Most Democrats, 92%, want gun laws made stronger, in line with their views in a UChicago Harris/AP-NORC poll conducted in July 2022. But Republican desire for more expansive legislation has dropped to 32% from 49% last summer and independents’ support also declined slightly to 61% from 72%.


It’s unsurprising that Democrats still want gun control. The drop among independents is interesting, however, since they’re not generally beholden to any party’s leadership for guidance.

It’s also problematic for anti-gunners because they can’t push gun control with just Democrats. They need independents and fewer support gun control today than a year ago, which makes one wonder where these numbers will be in another 12 months.

The poll, however, tried to salvage things for the anti-gun side by repeating some well-worn classics.

Even with GOP and independent headwinds on more restrictions, lawmakers could still find support: Enforcing background checks on all potential gun buyers earns bipartisan support, with 93% of Democrats and 68% of Republicans in favor.

Except, we also know that the support for these starts to drop once people become aware of exactly what universal background checks actually mean.

That’s why it keeps polling high, yet often loses when put on the ballot for voters to actually pass.

Funny how that shakes out, isn’t it?


Regardless, while gun rights aren’t really up for debate, it’s even harder to threaten those rights when most of the public isn’t on board with the idea of restricting them.

What we need to do is get those numbers even lower across the board. The best way to do that is by both undermining the arguments presented as often as possible and showing how little they actually accomplish, especially when compared to what gun rights actually do to keep us safe.

Frankly, I’m glad to see this shift happen and I want to see it keep on going.

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