NPR/Ipsos Poll: Americans Want Stricter Gun Laws A new NPR/Ipsos poll asks Americans what they know about gun related violence and what can be done to mitigate the problem.
NPR logo NPR/Ipsos Poll: Americans Want Stricter Gun Laws

NPR/Ipsos Poll: Americans Want Stricter Gun Laws

Shop owner Jeff Binkley displays an AR-15 "Sport" rifle at Sarge's Sidearms on Sept. 29, 2016 near Benson, Ariz. John Moore/Getty Images hide caption

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John Moore/Getty Images

Shop owner Jeff Binkley displays an AR-15 "Sport" rifle at Sarge's Sidearms on Sept. 29, 2016 near Benson, Ariz.

John Moore/Getty Images

Many Lack General Gun-Related Knowledge

With gun policy once again at the forefront of political discourse following the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history – a new NPR/Ipsos poll asks Americans what they know about gun related violence and what can be done to mitigate the problem.

The poll found that a majority (68%) of Americans, regardless of political party, support stricter gun laws with nearly half (45%) believing that gun laws should be a lot stricter and another quarter (23%) believing they should be somewhat stricter than they are today. A strong majority of Americans also support specific restrictions on guns including a ban on assault-style weapons (79%), a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds (78%), and a ban on firearm attachments like bump stocks (83%).

The poll also found that many Americans lack gun-related knowledge. Only 8% are able to answer 7 or more knowledge questions correctly, out of a total of 10. Among the misperceptions, Americans showed little knowledge of the number of guns per capita (21% correct), the declining rate in gun deaths (20% correct), and whether or not the U.S. regularly conducts research on gun deaths (29% correct). Overall democrats had more correct responses on gun related knowledge than republicans.

"Gun control is a strongly polarizing issue, but independent of party, there's widespread support for restrictions on assault weapons," said Cliff Young, President of Ipsos US Public Affairs. "In part, this is a function of the recency of the Las Vegas shootings. It's important to note that social proximity to guns is widespread, cutting across all demographics."

Read more about the poll and test your own knowledge here: www.npr.org/2017/10/12/557433452/poll-majorities-of-both-parties-favor-heavier-gun-restrictions

Full findings also available: https://www.ipsos.com/en-us/news-polls/npr-gun-control-2017-10

Key Findings

Americans are in favor of stricter gun laws

  • 45% believe gun laws should be a lot stricter (65% of Democrats, 29% of Republicans, 32% of Independents)
  • 23% believe gun laws should be somewhat stricter
  • 58% strongly favor banning assault-style weapons
  • 21% somewhat favor banning assault-style weapons
  • 55% strongly favor a government database to track gun sales
  • 24% somewhat favor a government database to track gun sales
  • 53% strongly favor banning high-capacity ammunition
  • 25% somewhat favor banning high-capacity ammunition
  • 62% strongly favor banning firearm attachments that allow guns to fire like automatic weapons
  • 21% somewhat favor banning firearm attachments that allow guns to fire like automatic weapons


Americans lack general gun-related knowledge

  • 8% correctly answered 7 or more questions out of 10
  • 78% of Americans incorrectly thought that the percentage of Americans who own a gun has increased over the last 20 years, and 13% did not know
  • Only 20% correctly knew that gun-related deaths have declined in the US since 1980
  • 43% incorrectly believed that the government regularly conducts research on gun death, 28% did not know


Democrats had more correct responses on gun related knowledge than republicans

  • More than 2 in 5 (43%) Republicans incorrectly think that new background checks were put in place post-Sandy Hook (vs. 27% Democrats)
  • There is more than a 20-point difference between Democrats and Republicans in knowing that homes with guns are more likely to experience a fatality (59% D vs 37% R) – and again Independents (39%) are much closer to Republicans
  • Over half of Republicans think the U.S. regularly conducts research on gun deaths (51%) – vs. two in five (39%) Democrats who think the same
  • Republicans underestimate the gun fatalities annually, compared to Democrats – although are more likely to say the "don't know"


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About Ipsos

Ipsos Group S.A. is a global market research and a consulting firm with worldwide headquarters in Paris, France. The company was founded in 1975 by Didier Truchot, Chairman and CEO, and has been publicly traded on the Paris Stock Exchange since July, 1999.

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Email: mediarelations (at) npr.org