More Voters Prioritize Gun Rights Following Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl Rally Shooting

47% of voters said it’s most important to protect the right of Americans to buy guns, while 44% prioritize limiting firearm ownership
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Shares of voters who said each was more important after high-profile gun violence events.

Surveys conducted among representative samples of roughly 2,000 registered voters each, with unweighted margins of error of +/-2 percentage points.

February 20, 2024 at 3:52 pm UTC

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America’s appetite for stricter gun control measures remains high following the shooting at a parade and rally celebrating the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory. However, Morning Consult’s ongoing tracking of voters’ views in the wake of high-profile acts of gun violence shows the public is starting to lean more in the direction of prioritizing the protection of Second Amendment rights.

According to our latest survey, 47% of voters said it’s more important to protect the right of Americans to own guns compared with 44% who prioritize limiting firearm ownership. It marks the first time since March 2021  — after the mass shootings in Atlanta and Boulder, Colo. — that voters are more likely than not to elevate gun rights over gun restrictions, as the share who prioritize limiting gun ownership has fallen from a 50% high measured after the Uvalde elementary school shooting in Texas. 

The question yields notable partisan divides. Republican voters are three times as likely as Democratic voters to say it’s more important to protect the right to own a gun (74% to 24%), a gap that persisted — albeit to a lesser extent — in the previous surveys. On the other hand, independent voters are almost evenly divided. 

To be sure, voters’ views on the question of gun rights does not equate to satisfaction with the status quo. The latest survey shows 65% of voters support stricter gun control laws in the United States, down just slightly from a record high following last March’s mass shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville. (Morning Consult has been tracking support for stricter gun measures in the United States since 2015.)

Tracking Support for Stricter Gun Control Laws

Shares of U.S. voters who support or oppose stricter gun control laws after the following mass shootings:
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Surveys conducted among representative samples of roughly 2,000 registered voters each, with unweighted margins of error of +/-2 percentage points. Figures may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

Along with 86% of Democrats and 66% of independents, 42% of Republican voters support stricter gun control laws. However, that GOP backing remains weak: Just 19% of Republican voters “strongly” support tightening gun regulations, compared with 31% in staunch opposition.

There’s a similar level of support among the larger electorate for banning high-capacity ammunition magazines (66%) and assault-style weapons (65%), and almost 9 in 10 voters back expanded mental health care screening and treatment and the requirement of background checks on all gun sales. 

The bottom line

The gun violence in Kansas City was a remarkably high-profile news event: 43% of voters said they had seen, read or heard “a lot” about it, more than any other item we’ve tested this year. But for now, it has not elicited the kind of reaction voters have given to other mass shootings, perhaps due to the lack of a terrorism or extremism nexus or the grim reality that it wasn’t as deadly. 

Our ongoing tracking of sentiment around the 2024 presidential election found that 61% of voters said gun policy is “very important” when thinking about whom they’ll vote for, up 3 percentage points from the previous week. That is far short of the jolt we gauged after the Uvalde shooting in 2022 that preceded Congress’ passage of bipartisan gun control legislation, though it is a similar level of importance.  

While gun laws remain a top voting concern and stricter gun control policies are indeed popular, our latest data suggests there is little new political pressure on lawmakers in Washington to respond following the Kansas City event. This leaves the matter to be litigated on the campaign trail — at least until the inevitable next major gun violence event. 

A headshot photograph of Eli Yokley
Eli Yokley
U.S. Politics Analyst

Eli Yokley is Morning Consult’s U.S. politics analyst. Eli joined Morning Consult in 2016 from Roll Call, where he reported on House and Senate campaigns after five years of covering state-level politics in the Show Me State while studying at the University of Missouri in Columbia, including contributions to The New York Times, Politico and The Daily Beast. Follow him on Twitter @eyokley. Interested in connecting with Eli to discuss his analysis or for a media engagement or speaking opportunity? Email [email protected].

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