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Factbox-Americans favor changing gun laws, even if Congress may not act: Reuters/Ipsos poll

Published 05/26/2022, 04:26 PM
Updated 05/26/2022, 06:25 PM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Law enforcement officers guard the scene of a shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, U.S. May 24, 2022.  REUTERS/Marco Bello

(Reuters) - The massacre at a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school that killed 19 children and two teachers this week has once again spurred calls for Congress to act to stem U.S. gun violence, including from Democratic Senator Chris Murphy and President Joe Biden.

Already, some senators have suggested they would be unlikely to support any legislative fixes. "Guns are not the problem, OK? People are the problem," Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville said Wednesday. "We've had guns forever. And we're going to continue to have guns."

Polling suggests that stance is out of step with the U.S. public. Nearly two-thirds of Americans support moderate or strong regulations of gun ownership, including 53% of Republicans, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll of 940 people conducted online on Wednesday, one day after the Uvalde shooting.

Here is where Americans fall on a number of other gun-related proposals, according to the poll:

RED-FLAG LAWS

Seventy percent of people surveyed said they support so-called "red flag laws," which allow police to confiscate firearms from people that courts say are dangerous. Nineteen states already have such laws in place; they allow certain people, such as law enforcement officers or family members, to petition a court to temporarily seize guns or prevent firearms purchases.

In addition, 79% of people - and 78% of Republicans - said they would be more likely to support a candidate who supported passing background checks and red flag laws for all new gun purchases, ahead of November's midterm elections in which party control of Congress and multiple statehouses are up for grabs.

RAISING LEGAL AGE

Nearly three-quarters of people, 72%, support the idea of raising the legal age to buy a gun from 18 to 21 years old. The gunman in Uvalde was 18 years old and legally purchased two semi-automatic rifles and 375 rounds of ammunition days before the shooting.

In a separate incident earlier this month, a white gunman in Buffalo, New York - who killed 10 people at a grocery store in a predominantly Black neighborhood in what is being investigated as an act of "racially motivated violent extremism" - was also 18.

NRA AFFILIATION

Fifty-seven percent of people, including 43% of Republicans, said they were somewhat or much less likely to support a political candidate who took money from or attended events held by gun makers or the National Rifle Association (NRA), the gun influential rights advocacy group.

Top Republicans are scheduled to speak at the NRA's annual meeting in Houston this week, including Texas Governor Greg Abbott and former President Donald Trump.

ARMING TEACHERS

Americans were more divided on the issue of arming elementary school teachers or staff with guns, a proposal that has been floated by some Republicans. Forty-five percent of Americans backed arming teachers - including 58% of Republicans - while 41% of people did not.

Teachers' unions have opposed this idea.

PROTECTION AGAINST MASS SHOOTING

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Law enforcement officers guard the scene of a shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, U.S. May 24, 2022.  REUTERS/Marco Bello

A slight majority of people - 54% - said the best way for Americans to protect themselves from mass shootings was to carry a firearm themselves. Republicans were most likely to espouse this, with 70% agreeing with that statement.

The poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Latest comments

swampy pubs love that gun money
Don’t trust Polls, Reutors or this administration
you're an id(iot)
"Don’t trust Polls"  -- yet you are the first to rant about Biden's low approval rating in the polls
Its not gun laws that need to be changed, its the laws that prevent parents from protecting their children.
"its the laws that prevent parents from protecting their children"  - what are you babbling about?  what law that prevents parents from protecting their children???  you know who really were preventing the parents of that school shooting to protect their children?  those 19 cops who hang around outside the school and refusing to go in to rescue the children, even preventing the parents trying to go in.....
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