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Poll: Americans' Interest in Gun Control Drops  


Members of the Albany police department mounted unit offer a police presence as gun rights activists with the National Constitutional Coalition of Patriotic Americans take part in a national rally aimed at pushing back against calls for stronger gun control measures outside the state Capitol, April 14, 2018, in Albany, New York.

In the wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14, many Americans said gun control was the most important issue facing the country.

That has changed, despite high profile events like school walk outs and the March for Our Lives protests.

A recent Gallup public opinion poll found those who think gun control is the most important issue dropped from 13 percent, a record, to six percent in just one month.

Now, more Americans think dissatisfaction with government (23 percent), immigration (11 percent) and race relations (seven percent) are all more important than gun control.

Gallup noted gun control interest spikes after shootings, but the “effects have tended to be temporary.” But the polling organization said interest in the topic of gun control remains “elevated by historical standards,” adding that since 2001, it has been mentioned, on average, by one percent of Americans as the top problem in the U.S.

Volunteers, students and parents sort items left at the memorial site for the 17 students and faculty killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, March 28, 2018 in Parkland, Florida. Flowers and plants will be composted while all other items will be will be catalogued and saved.
Volunteers, students and parents sort items left at the memorial site for the 17 students and faculty killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, March 28, 2018 in Parkland, Florida. Flowers and plants will be composted while all other items will be will be catalogued and saved.

In the immediate aftermath of the 2012 shooting in Sandy Hook, four percent of Americans said gun control was the top issue, a jump from zero percent. Gallup said it remained high for a “few months” and even got as high as seven percent, but when Congress did not pass gun control legislation, the percentage of Americans saying gun control as the top issue dropped back to zero.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Gallup found Democrats were twice as likely to think gun violence is among the most important issues compared to Republicans by eight to four percent respectively. Democrats also saw the biggest drop in those saying guns were the top problem, dropping by half in just one month.

The Parkland shooting did spur the House of Representatives to pass “The STOP School Violence Act,” which authorizes $50 million per year to fund initiatives and other training aimed at enhancing school safety. The bill would also provide $25 million to make schools less vulnerable by adding metal detectors, better door locks and response technologies to allow schools to notify law enforcement about emergencies.

The April Gallup poll contacted 1,015 adults, aged 18 and older, in all 50 states and Washington D.C. between April 2-11. The margin of error is plus or minus four percentage points.

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