But the response to those calls from many Republican lawmakers is the same now as it pretty much always is: The country should not have stricter gun control.
While there are certainly some Americans who want stricter gun control, the public at large is far more split on the issue than a lot of commonly cited polling data would have you believe.
This year, only 36% of Americans said they were dissatisfied and wanted stricter gun control laws. Sixty-one percent were either satisfied (41%), dissatisfied but wanted less strict laws (13%) or dissatisfied and wanted no change (7%).
These numbers do shift somewhat from year to year, but the “dissatisfied and want stricter gun laws” opinion has never been a majority one this century.
The reason I like the question is because it gets at the intensity of feelings about the gun debate. Most people are generally fine with our country’s gun laws (to the degree that they are satisfied) or want them to be less strict.
Even if you simply ask Americans if they want stricter gun control (i.e. without asking about satisfaction first), the country seems mostly split. At the end of last year, 52% of Americans indicated they wanted stricter gun control, according to Gallup. Forty-six percent, within the margin of error, either thought laws should be kept the same (35%) or made less strict (11%), the same survey found.
A proposal to expand background checks passed by less than a point in Nevada and failed by a little less than 4 points in Maine.
Why would Republicans feel political pressure to support more gun control, when something that polls as well as universal background checks can’t surpass the Democratic presidential baseline in swing states?
Now, I’m not sure what exactly explains the discrepancy between the polling and election results.
But the election results line up with what we see in other polling.
So will the events at Uvalde change any minds? It’s obviously too early to say.
If Democrats are going to get any Republicans to join them in the quest for tighter gun laws, it would need to happen now. If it doesn’t, history tells us that there likely won’t be another chance until there is sadly another mass shooting.