Politics & Policy

Poll: Majority Backs Banning Assault-Style Rifles, Opposes Federal Gun-Confiscation Program

AR-15 rifles for sale at the Guntoberfest gun show in Oaks, Pa., October 6, 2017 (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

A majority of Americans supports banning the future sale of assault-style rifles but is against a federal gun-confiscation program that would force current owners to forfeit such weapons, according to a new Monmouth University poll.

About 56 percent of respondents in the Monmouth poll supported banning assault-style weapons, while 38 percent opposed it. Only 43 percent of respondents supported a “mandatory buyback program,” in which the federal government would confiscate such weapons from current owners, while 53 percent of respondents opposed such a program.

“An assault weapons sales ban has majority support but there are deep pockets of opposition among gun-owning Americans,” said poll director Patrick Murray. “There is even greater opposition to programs that would try to take these weapons out of the hands of people who already own them.”

Other gun-control measures tested in the poll garnered more significant bipartisan support. 83 percent of those polled said they support comprehensive background checks for gun purchases. About 75 percent of respondents, including 59 percent of those who are NRA members, said they support “red-flag laws,” which allow those close to an individual, such as family members, to petition a court to temporarily restrict the individual’s access to firearms if they believe the he poses a threat of violence. 62 percent also said they support establishing a national gun registry, a database of all guns in the U.S.

The poll of 800 American adults was conducted by telephone between August 16 and August 20, several weeks after a gunman opened fire in an El Paso, Texas Walmart, killing 22, and another shooter opened fire a day later in Dayton, Ohio, killing 10.

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