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Stark Political Division Over Gun Control
Daniel Cox, Ph.D., Joanna Piacenza,
12.04.2015

Updated: 06/13/2016.

The mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando marks the most deadly mass shooting in American history. As many appeal for stricter gun control laws, we took a look at where Americans overall stand on the issue.

PRRI Partisan Gridlock

While six in ten (60 percent) Americans favor passing stricter gun control laws, there are substantial partisan divisions in views about gun control. Only 31 percent of Tea Party members and 35 percent of Republicans favor passing stricter gun control laws, while roughly two-thirds of each group express opposition to stricter gun laws: 69 percent and 65 percent, respectively. In contrast Democrats overwhelmingly (81 percent) favor stricter laws.

Notably, support for stricter gun control remains unchanged since 2013, shortly after a gunman killed 27 elementary school children and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. A 2013 PRRI survey found that 60 percent favored passing stricter gun control laws, while 37 percent were opposed.

Despite the substantial support for more robust gun control legislation, another 2013 PRRI survey found that only one-quarter (25 percent) of Americans say “stricter gun control laws and enforcement” is the most important thing that can be done to prevent mass shootings from occurring in the U.S. today. A plurality (30 percent) said “better mental health support and screening” is the best way to reduce gun violence.

For more, read “Anxiety, Nostalgia, and Mistrust: Findings from the 2015 American Values Survey.”