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Republicans Fuel Bump in Support for Stricter Gun Laws Following Nashville Shooting

67% of voters, including 47% of Republicans, back tougher firearms rules
April 04, 2023 at 5:00 am UTC

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Following the recent shooting at a Nashville elementary school, voter support for stricter gun control laws has increased to a level not seen since the shootings last year in Texas and New York — and a new Morning Consult survey shows it’s being fueled by Republicans. 

Republicans Drive Renewed Uptick in Gun Control Support

Share of voters who said they support or oppose stricter gun control laws after the Buffalo supermarket and Uvalde school shootings, in January and after the Nashville school shooting
Line charts of the share of voters who said they support or oppose stricter gun control laws after the Buffalo supermarket and Uvalde school shootings, in January and after the Nashville school shooting. The charts show an uptick in Republican support for stricter gun laws.
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Surveys conducted June 10-12, 2022, Jan. 27-29, 2023, and March 30-April 2, 2023, among representative samples of roughly 2,000 registered voters each, with unweighted margins of error of +/-2 percentage points.

Support for gun control increases after Nashville shooting

  • Roughly 2 in 3 voters (67%) support stricter gun control laws in the United States, just shy of a 68% high in Morning Consult surveys reached in June 2022, as Congress was debating bipartisan firearms legislation following the shootings at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y.
  • Among Republican voters, 47% support stricter gun control measures — the highest percentage of Joe Biden’s presidency in Morning Consult surveys. 
  • An uptick in Republican support fueled an increase in the overall share of voters who back stricter firearms legislation since a Morning Consult survey conducted in January, when support for gun control had declined from a high point last summer.  

How Washington is responding to Nashville 

Last week’s shooting in Nashville, which left three children and three adults dead in addition to the shooter, prompted a familiar round of calls for stricter gun control measures. But following last year’s rare bipartisan success at advancing legislation on the issue, there is no optimism in Washington that Congress will take another whack at it. 

Last week, Biden said he had gone to the “full extent of my executive authority” to deal with gun control on his own, calling on Congress to act. But congressional Republicans have shown little desire to address the issue, with Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) telling reporters “we’re not gonna fix it” when asked about the problem of school shootings last week. 

That posture clashes with widespread support in the electorate for stricter gun laws — something the Nashville shooting appears to have prompted more Americans to expect Congress to spend time addressing.

Voter Prioritization of Gun Control Reaches Highest Point Since July

Share of voters who said passing legislation that places additional restrictions on gun ownership should be a top priority for Congress
Line chart of the share of voters who said passing legislation that places additional restrictions on gun ownership should be a top priority for Congress. The chart shows voter prioritization of gun control is at its highest point since July.
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Surveys conducted throughout Biden’s presidency among representative samples of roughly 2,000 registered voters each, with unweighted margins of error of +/- 2 percentage points.

More voters want Congress to prioritize gun control after Nashville shooting

  • According to the latest survey, 44% of voters said passing legislation that places additional restrictions on gun ownership should be a “top priority” of Congress, up 5 percentage points from the days before the Nashville shooting.
  • The share of voters who want Congress to make gun control a top priority includes 65% of Democrats, 39% of independents and 24% of Republicans. The figures among Republicans and independents are at similar levels as they were last June, while the Democratic figure is down slightly from a 74% high reached at the time.
  • Voters are more likely to trust Democrats than Republicans to handle the issue of gun policy, 45% to 39%, and they are split on Biden’s handling of the matter, with 45% approving and 46% disapproving. 

The latest Morning Consult survey was conducted March 30-April 2, 2023, among a representative sample of 1,989 registered voters, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. 

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

Eli Yokley is Morning Consult’s U.S. politics analyst. Prior to his current role, Eli was Morning Consult’s senior reporter covering U.S. politics. 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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