The poll found that 71% of Americans say gun laws should be stricter, including about half of Republicans and the vast majority of Democrats.

CHICAGO — Most U.S. adults believe gun violence is on the rise nationwide and want gun laws to become stricter, according to a new poll that finds broad public support for a variety of gun restrictions, including many supported by the majority of Republicans and gun owners are supported.

The University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey also shows that a majority of US adults consider both gun violence reduction and gun ownership protection to be important issues.

The poll was conducted between July 28 and August 1, following a string of deadly mass shootings — from a New York grocery store to a Texas school to a July 4th parade in Illinois — and a spike in gun homicides in the year 2020 that raised awareness about gun violence. Overall, 8 in 10 Americans perceive that gun violence is increasing across the country, and about two-thirds say it is increasing in their state, although less than half believe it is increasing in their community, the poll shows.

How to prevent such violence has long divided politicians and many voters, making changing gun laws difficult. In June, a conservative majority on the Supreme Court Extended gun rightsFinding a constitutional right to carry firearms in public in self-defense.

Later that same month, President Joe Biden signed it a bipartisan gun safety law. The package, approved after shootings like the one that killed 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas, was both a considered compromise and the most significant gun violence legislation passed in Congress in decades — an indication of how persistent it is the problem has become.

The poll found that 71% of Americans say gun laws should be stricter, including about half of Republicans, the vast majority of Democrats and a majority of those in gun-owning households.

Nicole Whitelaw, 29, is a Democrat and gun owner who grew up hunting and shooting with her heavily Republican family in upstate New York. Whitelaw, who now lives on Florida’s Gulf Coast, supports some gun restrictions, such as banning firearms for those convicted of domestic violence and a federal law banning people with mental illness from buying guns.

She said other restrictions – like banning the sale of AR-15 rifles – go “too far” and may not solve the problem. Whitelaw pointed to the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic when many people bought whatever toilet paper they could find.

“I think people would start hoarding guns,” she said, adding that a better approach is to make smaller changes and see what the impact is.

The poll shows bipartisan majorities of Americans support a statewide background check policy for all gun sales, a law that bars the mentally ill from buying guns and allows courts to temporarily suspend people deemed a danger to themselves or others from buying a gun, making 21 the minimum age to buy a gun nationwide and banning anyone convicted of domestic violence from buying a gun.

A smaller majority of Americans – 59% – support banning the sale of AR-15 rifles and similar semi-automatic weapons, with Democrats more supportive of the policy than Republicans, 83% versus 35%.

Chris Boylan, 47, of Indianapolis, opposes gun restrictions. A longtime teacher, Boylan said he’s buried “more kids than I care to count” and believes gun violence is a big problem. But the Republican, who said he leans more toward a libertarian personal stance, believes it’s more about mental health and an overly lenient criminal justice system.

“Blaming the gun is an oversimplification of what the problems really are,” Boylan said. “It’s not the gun. It is an affair of the heart for me.”

The new poll found that 88% of Americans say preventing mass shootings is extremely or very important, and almost as many say reducing gun violence in general. But 60% also say it is very important to ensure people can own guns for personal protection.

Overall, 52% of Americans — including 65% Republicans and 39% Democrats — say both reducing mass shootings and protecting the right to own guns for personal protection are very important.

University of Chicago professor Jens Ludwig said the results of the poll showed opponents’ concerns about gun restrictions were “very wrong”. Led by the National Rifle Association, the gun lobby argues that any new restrictions on who can own a gun or what kind of firearms can be sold will result in a nationwide ban on all guns and ammunition.

The poll showed that most Americans’ opinions are more nuanced, and there is support for some changes even among Republicans, who as elected officials are typically opposed to gun control, said Ludwig, who is also director of the University of Chicago’s Crime Lab.

“It should shut the door on some of the ‘wrong path’ arguments,” he said.

The poll also found that only about 3 in 10 Americans support a law that would allow people to carry guns in public without a permit. 78 percent of Democrats are against it. Among Republicans, 47% are in favor and 39% are against.

Ervin Leach, 66, who lives in Troutman, North Carolina just north of Charlotte, thinks gun violence is a big problem and says the laws should be much stricter. Leach, a Democrat, said he supports measures like background checks — or what he thinks should be “deep studies” — and a minimum age of 21 to buy a gun.

The survey found that 1 in 5 people have personally experienced gun violence, e.g. B. Being threatened with a gun or a victim of a shooting, or having a close friend or family member do so. Black and Hispanic Americans are particularly likely to say they or someone close to them has experienced gun violence.

Leach, who is black, said the gun violence he sees on the news has made him more cautious.

“I don’t like it when people approach me,” he said. “Previously, people stopped to help if someone was standing on the side of the road. If you help someone now, you could lose your life.”

All of the murders have led Leach to consider buying a gun for his own protection. Although he hasn’t had a chance to get his gun license yet, he said, “That’s my intention.” According to polls, most in the US want stricter gun control laws

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