Poll: Majority of Republicans Supports ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban

The National Rifle Association (NRA) convention in Dallas, Texas, May 5, 2018. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

A majority of Republicans supports banning assault-style weapons, according to a poll taken immediately after two mass shootings left the nation shaken over the weekend.

Seventy percent of respondents, including about 55 percent of Republican voters and 86 percent of Democrats, would support prohibiting such weapons, the Politico/Morning Consult poll found. Only 23 percent of voters overall said they opposed banning such weapons.

Fifty-four percent of Republicans also said they support tightening gun laws in other ways, and a supermajority, 90 percent, said they back universal background checks for firearms purchases.

73 percent of all voters said they supported stricter gun control in general, a six-point jump from early last year, while only 27 percent oppose tightening gun laws.

Despite strong support for stricter gun laws among both parties, Americans are still split on whether constricting gun ownership is more important than preserving Second Amendment rights, with 44 percent saying the former and 44 percent the latter.

The poll was conducted just a day after a young gunman used an assault-style rifle to kill ten people, including his own sister, and injure 27 more in a Dayton, Ohio entertainment district. Less than 24 hours before, another young male shooter had opened fire in an El Paso, Texas shopping center, killing 22 people and injuring 26 others. The El Paso shooter posted a white-nationalist manifesto to the Internet shortly before his attack.

President Trump said Wednesday that he does not believe Congress has shown a “political appetite” for banning high-powered weapons such as the semi-automatic AR-15 rifle. He added that he supports “strong background checks” and called on lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to pass “red flag” laws, which would allow police to temporarily confiscate weapons from individuals deemed by a judge to be a danger to themselves or others.

The poll of 1,960 registered voters was conducted from August 5–7.

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