Monmouth Poll: Drop in Assault Weapon Ban Support

Public opinion on an assault weapons ban has shifted from majority backing to a split decision. Support for background checks remains high, though not quite as strong as it was last year. The Monmouth University Poll also finds that half of the country believes the frequency of mass shootings will increase over the next five years.

One in three Americans (34%) – including 59% of Republicans – say the Second Amendment right to bear arms is absolute and should not be limited. Just over half of the public (51%) – including 66% of Democrats – believes the right to bear arms is important but should have restrictions. Another 12% feel it would be better for the country if we did away with the right to bear arms entirely. These results are similar to a Monmouth poll taken in June 2022.

The public is currently divided over a ban on the future sale of assault weapons – 46% support this and 49% are opposed. Last year, a majority (55%) favored such a ban while 42% stood in opposition. The drop in support has come mainly from independents (49% in 2022 to 37% now), but there have also been declines among Republicans (from 32% to 24%) and Democrats (from 82% to 77%).

“Despite continued incidents of mass shootings, public support for banning assault weapons has dipped. It’s not clear why, since support for some other gun measures remains widespread,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

About 8 in 10 Americans (81%) support requiring comprehensive background checks for all gun purchasers, which is similar to overall support levels last year. However, the number who strongly support background checks has declined from 73% in June 2022 to 64%. Moreover, just 28% of the public feels the president should be able to order background checks by executive order, something President Joe Biden did in a limited approach last month. A majority (64%) say such a measure should only be instituted by an act of Congress.

“Support for background checks remains high, but not for the way President Biden tried to go about,” said Murray.

The poll also finds that more than 7 in 10 Americans (72%) support a federal red flag law that would allow police to temporarily take away the guns of someone who poses a threat to themselves or others. This is similar to the 75% support level recorded last year, although strong support for red flag laws has dipped from 58% to 49%.

A majority of the public (56%) feels that individual states should be allowed to limit who can carry a concealed handgun by requiring permit applicants to demonstrate that they need the weapon for their work or for protection. Another 41% disagree, effectively siding with a U.S. Supreme Court decision last summer that curtailed states’ ability to make gun laws. These findings are nearly identical to a June 2022 Monmouth poll which was taken shortly after the court’s ruling.

About half of the public (49%) expects the frequency of mass shootings in the country to increase over the next five years. Just 8% believe the frequency will decrease and 39% feel it will stay about the same. Those who expect to see a rise in mass shootings include 69% of Democrats, 43% of independents, and 37% of Republicans. These results are similar to a year ago.  [Note: the poll was conducted before the recent Nashville shooting but after shootings in Michigan and California earlier this year and numerous other shootings last year that occurred subsequent to Monmouth’s prior poll in June 2022.]

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from March 16 to 20, 2023 with 805 adults in the United States.  The question results in this release have a margin of error of +/- 5.8 percentage points for the full sample. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.

 

QUESTIONS AND RESULTS     

(* Some columns may not add to 100% due to rounding.)

 

[Q1-4 previously released.]

[Q5-10 held for future release.]

 

  1. Which of the following statements comes closest to your view of the Second Amendment of the Constitution?
  TREND: March

2023

June

2022

The right to bear arms is an absolute right and should not be limited 34% 30%
The right to bear arms is important, but should have restrictions 51% 54%
It would be better for the country if we did away with the right to bear arms entirely 12% 15%
(VOL) Don’t know 3% 1%
(n) (805) (978)

 

  1. Do you support or oppose requiring comprehensive background checks for all gun purchasers, including private sales between two individuals? [Do you support/oppose that strongly or somewhat?]
TREND: March

2023

June
2022
Aug.
2019
March
2018
Strongly support 64% 73% 68% 68%
Somewhat support 17% 10% 15% 15%
Somewhat oppose 6% 6% 4% 5%
Strongly oppose 10% 11% 9% 11%
(VOL) Don’t know 3% 1% 3% 2%
(n) (805) (978) (800) (803)

 

  1. Do you think the president should be able to order background checks for gun purchases by executive order or should this only be done by an act of Congress?
  March

2023

Be able by executive order 28%
Only by an act of Congress 64%
(VOL) Don’t know 8%
(n) (805)

 

  1. Do you support or oppose banning the future sale of assault weapons? [Do you support/oppose that strongly or somewhat?]
TREND: March

2023

June
2022
Aug.
2019
Strongly support 37% 45% 44%
Somewhat support 9% 10% 12%
Somewhat oppose 16% 10% 10%
Strongly oppose 33% 32% 28%
(VOL) Don’t know 6% 3% 6%
(n) (805) (978) (800)

 

  1. Do you support or oppose a federal red flag law that would allow police to temporarily take away the guns of someone who poses a threat to themselves or others? [Do you support/oppose that strongly or somewhat?]
TREND: March

2023

June
2022
Aug.
2019
Strongly support 49% 58% 53%
Somewhat support 23% 17% 22%
Somewhat oppose 8% 6% 7%
Strongly oppose 16% 18% 13%
(VOL) Don’t know 4% 1% 4%
(n) (805) (978) (800)

 

  1. Do you agree or disagree that individual states should be allowed to limit who can carry a concealed handgun by requiring permit applicants to demonstrate that they need the weapon for their work or for protection?
TREND: March

2023

June
2022
Agree 56% 56%
Disagree 41% 42%
(VOL) Don’t know 3% 3%
(n) (805) (978)

 

  1. Over the next five years, do you expect that the frequency of mass shootings in the country will increase, decrease, or stay about the same?
 TREND: March

2023

June
2022
Increase 49% 53%
Decrease 8% 9%
Stay about the same 39% 35%
(VOL) Don’t know 4% 3%
(n) (805) (978)

 

[Q18-27 previously released.]

 

METHODOLOGY

The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from March 16 to 20, 2023 with a probability-based national random sample of 805 adults age 18 and older. This includes 284 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 521 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone, in English. Telephone numbers were selected through a mix of random digit dialing and list-based sampling. Landline respondents were selected with a modified Troldahl-Carter youngest adult household screen. Interviewing services were provided by Braun Research, with sample obtained from Dynata (RDD, n= 479), Aristotle (list, n= 133) and a panel of prior Monmouth poll participants (n= 193). Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey design, data weighting and analysis. The full sample is weighted for region, age, education, gender and race based on US Census information (ACS 2021 one-year survey). For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 5.8 percentage points adjusted for sample design effects (1.68). Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below). In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

 

DEMOGRAPHICS (weighted)
Self-Reported
25% Republican
45% Independent
30% Democrat
 
49% Male
51% Female
 
29% 18-34
33% 35-54
38% 55+
 
61% White
12% Black
17% Hispanic
10% Asian/Other
 
67% No degree
33% 4 year degree

 

MARGIN OF ERROR
unweighted  sample moe
(+/-)
TOTAL   805 5.8%
REGISTERED VOTER Yes 748 6.0%
No 57 21.8%
SELF-REPORTED PARTY ID Republican 216 11.2%
Independent 331 9.1%
Democrat 243 10.6%
IDEOLOGY Liberal 183 12.2%
Moderate 330 9.1%
Conservative 258 10.3%
GENDER Male 395 8.3%
Female 410 8.1%
AGE 18-34 124 14.8%
35-54 291 9.7%
55+ 389 8.4%
CHILDREN IN HOME Yes 201 11.6%
No 600 6.7%
RACE White, non-Hispanic 573 6.9%
Other 216 11.2%
COLLEGE GRADUATE No degree 394 8.3%
4 year degree 407 8.2%
WHITE COLLEGE White, no degree 288 9.7%
White, 4 year degree 284 9.8%
INCOME <$50K 231 10.8%
$50 to <$100K 232 10.8%
$100K+ 300 9.5%

 

Crosstabs may be found in the PDF file on the report webpage:  https://www.monmouth.edu/polling-institute/reports/monmouthpoll_US_042423/

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3 responses to “Monmouth Poll: Drop in Assault Weapon Ban Support”

  1. This is absurd! Nobody asked me! Only the dumbassacraps who are known for their cheating! I call bullshit! Another lie FJB is spreading. POS! He and his whole bullshit cabinet! He’s done nothing but lie and try to ruin this once great country since they cheated their way in!

  2. First, don’t believe anything the Monmouth University Poll tells the public. They are a left-leaning poll that does NOT reflect the public sentiment. The reason why the public is not for banning assault weapons and shifting away from universal background checks, is because the public has come to the realization that gun control laws DO NOT WORK, and that the government is trying to disarm law abiding people from owning firearms for self-defense.

    Some of the largest purchasers of firearms right now are women and minorities, because they understand that law enforcement CAN NO LONGER PROTECT THEM!!!! And, many people are beginning to understand that “reasonable” and “common sense” gun control will lead to total confiscation and then government can run roughshod over the people with no push-back.

    Australians, New Zealanders and the British all have total gun confiscation based on a “knee-jerk” emotional reaction to a mass shooting of a school or public venue. Since total confiscation went into effect in those countries, violent home invasions, violent gun crime, rapes and murders have increased exponentially. They are ALL telling Americans “DO NOT GIVE UP YOUR GUNS!!!!!!!!”

  3. How many people die of car accidents,cigarette smoking,alcohol? If you put a loaded gun in a corner of your house,and leave it nothing will happen, it’s the idiot behind the trigger that’s the problem,not the machine,it just sits and looks pretty til some idiot who thinks real life is a pew pew game that’s the problem

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