May. 23, 2013

Broad Support for Renewed Background Checks Bill, Skepticism about Its Chances

Following the Senate’s rejection of gun legislation last month, the public continues to overwhelmingly favor making private gun sales and sales at gun shows subject to background checks. Nearly three-quarters of Americans (73%) say that if the Senate bill is reintroduced, Congress should pass it. However, even gun control advocates are pessimistic that new […]

Gun Rights Interactive
May. 23, 2013

Gun Rights vs. Gun Control

Explore 20 years of data on public opinion about gun control vs. gun rights.

Apr. 24, 2013

Mixed Reactions to Senate Gun Vote

The key Senate vote that halted gun control legislation last week is drawing a mixed reaction from the American public: 47% express negative feelings about the vote while 39% have a positive reaction to the Senate’s rejection of gun control legislation that included background checks on gun purchases. Overall, 15% say they are angry […]

Apr. 8, 2013

Gun Debate Draws More Interest than Immigration Policy Debate

As Congress returns to Washington to resume work on gun control and immigration legislation, the public is paying far closer attention to news about the gun control debate than news about the debate over immigration policy. A national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted April 4-7 among 1,003 adults, finds 37% say they […]

Mar. 12, 2013

Why Own a Gun? Protection Is Now Top Reason

The vast majority of gun owners say that having a gun makes them feel safer. And far more today than in 1999 cite protection – rather than hunting or other activities – as the maireason they own guns. A national survey finds that nearly half of gun owners (48%) volunteer that the main reason […]

Feb. 21, 2013

If No Deal is Struck, Four-in-Ten Say Let the Sequester Happen

After a series of fiscal crises over the past few years, the public is not expressing a particular sense of urgency over the pending March 1 sequester deadline. With little more than a week to go, barely a quarter have heard a lot about the scheduled cuts, while about as many have heard nothing […]

Jan. 22, 2013

Mixed Reactions to Obama’s Gun Proposals

With the public paying close attention to the national debate over gun control, Barack Obama’s gun proposals receive a mixed rating from the public. A 39% plurality say Obama’s proposals are about right while another 13% say they do not go far enough. About three-in-ten (31%) say the president’s proposals go too far; 17% […]

Jan. 14, 2013

In Gun Control Debate, Several Options Draw Majority Support

While the issue of gun control remains divisive, there are clear areas of agreement when it comes to a number of gun policy proposals. Fully 85% of Americans favor making private gun sales and sales at gun shows subject to background checks, with comparable support from Republicans, Democrats and independents. Similarly, 80% support laws […]

Dec. 20, 2012

After Newtown, Modest Change in Opinion about Gun Control

The public’s attitudes toward gun control have shown only modest change in the wake of last week’s deadly shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. Currently, 49% say it is more important to control gun ownership, while 42% say it is more important to protect the right of Americans to own guns. This […]

Dec. 17, 2012

Public Divided over What Newtown Signifies

The shootings at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. on Friday have drawn widespread public interest. A weekend survey finds that 57% of Americans say they followed news about the tragedy there very closely. That is higher than interest in the shootings at an Aurora, Colo. movie theater in July (49% very closely), though […]

Dec. 14, 2012

Public Attitudes Toward Gun Control

The Pew Research Center has been tracking attitudes about gun control for nearly 20 years. Our question asks whether it is more important to protect the right of Americans to own guns, or to control gun ownership. Our most recent survey on the issue, conducted July 26-29, 2012, shortly after a gunman killed 12 people […]

Jul. 30, 2012

Views on Gun Laws Unchanged After Aurora Shooting

There has been no significant change in public views on the issue of gun control and gun rights following the July 20th shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. Currently, 47% say it is more important to control gun ownership, while 46% say it is more important to protect the rights of Americans […]

Apr. 25, 2012

More Support for Gun Rights, Gay Marriage than in 2008 or 2004

Opinions about a pair of contentious social issues, gun control and gay marriage, have changed substantially since previous presidential campaigns. On gun control, Americans have become more conservative; on gay marriage, they have become more liberal. Currently, 49% of Americans say it is more important to protect the rights of Americans to own guns, […]

Nov. 3, 2011

The Generation Gap and the 2012 Election

In the last four national elections, generational differences have mattered more than they have in decades. According to the exit polls, younger people have voted substantially more Democratic than other age groups in each election since 2004, while older voters have cast more ballots for Republican candidates in each election since 2006. The latest […]

Mar. 3, 2011

Fewer Are Angry at Government, But Discontent Remains High

The public remains deeply frustrated with the federal government, but fewer Americans say they are angry at government than did so last fall. Overall, the percentage saying they are angry with the federal government has fallen from 23% last September to 14% today, with much of the decline coming among Republicans and Tea Party […]

Jan. 19, 2011

No Shift Toward Gun Control After Tucson Shootings

Most Point to Troubled Individuals, Not Broader Societal Problems

Jan. 13, 2011

Views of Gun Control — A Detailed Demographic Breakdown

Mar. 23, 2010

Public Divided Over State, Local Laws Banning Handguns

The public is divided over whether state and local governments should be able to pass laws banning the sale and possession of handguns. The Supreme Court is expected to rule in the next few months on the constitutionality of a 28-year-old Chicago law prohibiting handgun ownership in that city. Half of the public (50%) […]

Apr. 30, 2009

Public Takes Conservative Turn on Gun Control, Abortion

Public attitudes on a pair of contentious national issues – gun control and abortion – have moved in a more conservative direction over the past year. In both cases, the changes have been driven in part by relatively large shifts among men, while opinions among women have not changed very much. For the first […]

May. 14, 2008

Public Continues to Oppose Banning Handgun Sales

Summary of Findings As the Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of Washington, D.C.’s ban on handguns, a majority of Americans (59%) say they would oppose a law that banned the sale of handguns. Opposition to a prohibition of handgun sales is up slightly, from 55% a year ago shortly after the Virginia Tech shootings, but […]