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Gun Control Support Has Surged to Its Highest Level in 25 Years

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In the wake of the tragic mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School in Parkland, Fla., support for gun control has surged to its highest level in at least 25 years, according to a new opinion poll by Politico/Morning Consult.

According to the survey, 68% of registered voters now say they support stricter gun control laws, with 25% opposing tougher gun measures. This tracks with other recent gun control polls: CNN poll released earlier this week (conducted with research firm SSRS) found that 69% favor gun control, and a CBS News poll from last week (also conducted with SSRS) found that 65% favor gun control.

While the Morning Consult poll only dates back two years, looking back at Gallup gun control polls reveals that the last time support for restricting access to firearms was this high was early in President Bill Clinton’s first term, prior to the signing of both the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act and the Federal Assault Weapons Ban in 1994.

Politico notes that in the two years that Morning Consult has been polling about this issue, this is the highest level of support for gun control measures following a mass shooting. After the Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016 that left 49 dead, 58% supported stricter gun control. After the 2017 shooting in Las Vegas that killed 58, 64% favored stronger gun control laws.

The bump in support comes from Republicans, Kyle Dropp, co-founder and chief research officer of Morning Consult, told Politico.

“In this week’s poll, 53% of Republicans indicated they supported stricter gun laws, compared to 37% [of Republicans] who said the same following the Pulse nightclub shooting in June 2016,” Dropp told the publication.

Morning Consult also found that voters are pessimistic about Congress passing anything in the next year. Thirty-two percent said there’s a “poor” chance that stricter gun control laws are passed, compared to 10% who think there’s an “excellent” chance and 21% who think there’s a “good” chance.

In terms of specific gun control legislation, 88% favor background checks for all gun sales. Meanwhile, 84% support blocking gun sales to people who have been convicted of violent misdemeanors, and 82% believe you should need to be 21 to purchase an assault rifle. Seventy-seven percent of respondents are in favor of a bump stock ban.

Despite these numbers, Americans are still wary of going too far, says the poll. Forty-sic percent think protecting Americans’ right to bear arms is more important than limiting ownership of firearms, according to Politico. Also, more respondents trust a Republican Congress (41%) to implement gun control than a Democratic one (37%).

In a televised Cabinet meeting with lawmakers on Wednesday, President Donald Trump called for comprehensive gun control, and showed support for a 2013 bipartisan amendment from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), put forward after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Part of the legislation called for background checks for guns sold at gun shows or on the internet, but it failed in the Senate.

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