NPR Poll: After Parkland, Number of Americans Who Want Gun Restrictions Grows More than 9 in 10 Americans support mandatory background checks for all gun buyers. That's one finding in a new NPR/Ipsos poll that shows an increasing level of support for gun control policies.
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NPR Poll: After Parkland, Number of Americans Who Want Gun Restrictions Grows

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NPR Poll: After Parkland, Number of Americans Who Want Gun Restrictions Grows

NPR Poll: After Parkland, Number of Americans Who Want Gun Restrictions Grows

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

After a White House meeting on guns left Republicans scratching their heads, the Senate is not going to take up gun legislation next week as it had hoped. But when it does, a new NPR/Ipsos poll might provide a road map for what Americans want. And many Americans seem to want Congress to act. NPR's Asma Khalid has been digging through the results of this poll and joins us. Hi, Asma.

ASMA KHALID, BYLINE: Hey, David.

GREENE: So what's the takeaway from this new poll?

KHALID: Well, David, in general, it's overall bad news for the NRA. Three-quarters of people polled say gun laws should be stricter than they are today. And that's a noticeable increase in a really short period of time since we last polled on this. We polled after the Las Vegas shooting. And at that time, 68 percent of people said gun laws should be stricter than they were. Our poll found overwhelming bipartisan support for a range of gun control policies, including raising the age to buy a gun, banning assault-style weapons and requiring background checks.

GREENE: OK. It sounds like increasing support, at least at the moment, for gun control. What about in terms of policy? I mean, are people open to everything? Are there some gun control ideas that people just, you know, would reject?

KHALID: Well, the one policy that it seemed that a majority of people would reject is the idea of arming teachers. Overall, almost 6 in 10 were opposed to the idea of training teachers to carry guns in schools. And there's really a clear partisan divide here. A majority of Republicans support it. Democrats don't. In fact, there's a 50-point divide between Republicans and Democrats on this.

GREENE: Wow.

KHALID: And, David, I just got back from Ohio, where I heard this. I met a retired elementary school teacher and a Trump voter, Lisa Moore (ph), who did say, you know, she personally doesn't want to carry a gun, but she thinks there are teachers who would.

LISA MOORE: Have them come, sign up to see who wants to be concealed carry. They should have one for each grade level - you know what I'm saying? - on the floors, you know? And I think that'd be a good idea.

GREENE: And this is an idea that we've heard from President Trump talking about arming teachers, right?

KHALID: We have. Right. And, you know, at his televised White House meeting on Wednesday night with lawmakers, he also talked about possibly raising the age to buy an assault-style weapon and possibly expanding background checks. And, you know, it did seem to confuse things, I think, within his own party. But what I get from all of this is that, in some ways, the president is acutely aware of what his voters want. And I asked Chris Jackson about this. He's the director of the polling team at Ipsos. And he says that Trump actually seems in sync with his voters, with his Republican base voters.

CHRIS JACKSON: We see in this study a majority of Republicans saying that they are supportive of a variety of different gun control measures, many of which Trump mentioned. And that's in contrast to a lot of Republican elected officials who have taken a much more Second Amendment, absolutist stand.

GREENE: So interesting, Asma, because you do see President Trump sort of tending to his base often on a lot of issues. So what does this poll mean politically overall, would you say?

KHALID: Well, David, we found that, right now, almost two-thirds - in fact, 63 percent - say guns will be a major factor in their vote this November. You know, gun control is one of those issues that's dominated traditionally by gun rights activists. But we see an indication - because we can compare it from October - that a lot of the momentum we're seeing now is from Democrats and independents.

And, you know, of course, David, we always see sort of a bump after a mass shooting, and then support recedes a bit. And that's certainly what the NRA is banking on. So we'll have to see if there's actually sustained intensity in the months leading up to the midterms.

GREENE: All right. NPR's Asma Khalid. Asma, thanks. We appreciate it.

KHALID: You're welcome.

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