Tennessee Poll Suggests Support for Some Gun Control

AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

The state of Tennessee has been a pretty pro-gun state. It adopted constitutional carry not that long ago and even before that, it wasn’t exactly a gun control stronghold by any stretch of the imagination.


But then we had the shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville.

The senseless and brutal murder of children often upsets people enough to start grasping at anything promoting itself as a solution.

Which is probably part of why this poll is what it is.

Support among Tennesseans for gun safety reforms such as safe storage requirements and extreme risk protection orders, or red flag laws, has increased in recent months as state legislature’s popularity continues to decline, according to the results of a new Vanderbilt University poll.

The poll results show a significant majority of Tennessee voters polled would support legally requiring gun owners to safely secure their firearms in vehicles and “passing laws that temporarily restrict access to guns for individuals who are at high risk of harming themselves or others.”

The poll found 76% who would strongly or somewhat support both proposals. Only 16% would somewhat or strongly oppose the temporary gun restriction proposal, while 19% would oppose a vehicle safe storage law. A home safe storage law was slightly less popular but still supported by a majority of 68%.

This majority spread across political ideologies, with Vanderbilt finding 72% of “non-MAGA” Republicans, 60% of MAGA Republicans and 63% of respondents who strongly support the National Rifle Association would support a law requiring safe gun storage in cars.


Now, I have little doubt that Tennessee gun control advocates are going to be pretty hyped over these numbers and try to push these measures through the legislature. One issue with this report is that while 76% support both proposals, we don’t know exactly how many strongly support it.

That’s important because people who strongly support something are far more likely to let it impact their voting, as opposed to those who might like the idea but aren’t going to vote for someone just because of that.

Another thing to remember, though, is that polling tends to ask about the broad strokes of a policy, not the details. As a result, support in a poll doesn’t necessarily translate to support for a bill as written.

That’s why we find that support for gun control tends to be higher in polls than when some of these measures end up on the ballot.

Of course, we don’t know exactly how these questions were asked, either. That can skew the data significantly. After all, it’s easy to say that yes, we should take guns from dangerous people before they hurt others. It’s another to talk about a law that essentially removes due process.


The question now becomes whether or not these poll numbers actually lead to gun control in Tennessee or not. I’m inclined to believe that, as I’ve argued above, they won’t.

Yet we can’t just act as if there’s no threat to the Second Amendment rights of Tennessee citizens. There most definitely are, and we know what those are most likely to be now.

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