A Pew poll from December found that, for the first time, most Americans supported gun rights over gun control. But that conclusion, among others, bothered public health professors at Johns Hopkins University. This year, they asked the same questions they posed back in 2012, when they found broad support for specific gun violence prevention policies—including a ban on assault weapons, preventing a felon convicted of a serious crime from possessing a gun for ten years, and requiring gun buyers to obtain licenses—among gun owners and non-gun owners alike.
“But those findings, along with just about every other poll from that time, were criticized as being symptoms of a post-Newtown frenzy. That time period – coming just after a horrific event – has been increasingly viewed as an anomaly. So the Hopkins professors went back and asked the same questions earlier this year. And once again, the poll found strong support among by both gun owners and non-owners for limits on who can possess firearms and how they are sold,” writes The Washington Post‘s Todd C. Frankel.
Associate professor and lead author Colleen Barry says it depends on how the question is asked. The Pew poll asked Americans to pick either gun control or gun rights in the abstract, but asking about specific policies revealed broad support for stronger gun regulations.
“The Hopkins 2015 study, [published in the Preventative Medicine journal] found large majorities favored gun regulations that are stronger than those currently seen in federal or most state laws. For example, support for background checks for all gun sales stood above 80 percent for both gun owners and non-gun owners.”