POLL: Support for Assault Weapons Ban Rises to 62% After Parkland

The silent majority is silent no more.

However, unlike previously, the students of Parkland used the communication norm of their generation—social media—to spread their message fast and far. This was a tool and knowledge students from Columbine and Sandy Hook did not have to make their feelings on gun violence known.

Through social media, Parkland students were able to keep the medias attention and organize with other groups and individuals trying to end gun violence. A month after the Valentine’s Day murders of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland students led a nationwide school walkout.

On March 24, the March for Our Lives occurred across the globe. These events helped solidify public opinions on gun rights over gun control laws in the United States. Almost 6 in 10 Americans now say enacting sensible gun control laws outweighs gun rights.

While the majority of support for gun control lies behind background checks or limiting access to guns for those with histories of certain crimes, violence or certain mental illnesses—the so-called red flag laws—support for banning assault weapons trended upward since February as well.

ABC News Washington Post poll assault weapons Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
RED: support ban – BLUE: oppose ban (April 11, 2018 poll for ABC News and The Washington Post)

A breakdown by demographic shows only a few remaining groups of voters that support gun rights over gun control, something both the NRA and the Republican Party should analyze before November midterm elections.

ABC News Washington Post poll assault weapons Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
(April 11, 2018 poll for ABC News and The Washington Post)

Gun rights remain a priority for voters who characterize themselves as non-college educated white men, evangelical white protestants who are conservative Republicans. It may be time for the GOP to analyze how much of their base fall into those groups.

However, since 2015, support for guns over gun control dropped in every one of those demographics as well. The NRA’s money may add to campaign coffers, but it cannot make people vote for you.

Criticism of the Republican led Congress among poll participants fell on the side of unfavorable across all groups. 87 percent of Democrats, 72 percent of independents, and 54 percent of their own Republican Party members state Congress is not doing enough to try to prevent mass shootings.

One area of heavy criticism was the expiration and failure to renew the assault weapons ban in effect from 1994-2004.

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