Survey: Americans Can't Decide if More Gun Control Will Stop Further Mass Shootings

In the last 10 years, America has seen 58 mass shootings, resulting in 488 fatalities and 955 injured - a staggering 200% increase from the 25 years prior (1). These have stirred up intense debates and rhetoric regarding gun control and what needs to be done to stop this violent trend.

But with all this talk about gun control, what laws to implement, who’s right who’s wrong – what is the real sentiment of the American people on all of this? Will any of it make a difference? The simple answer: maybe.

This is what we found when we conducted our own study with our survey panelists. We wanted to find out for ourselves what the general American public thinks.

We conducted this study with a sample of 1,050 people, aged 18-64 living across the US: 262 respondents from each the Northeast and Midwest region, and 263 respondents from each the West and South region (2) within our panel,

Respondents were asked 4 simple questions:

  • Should background checks be more extensive?
  • Should there be more restrictions on who can buy a gun?
  • Should civilians be allowed to own a gun?
  • Will more gun control reduce the possibilities of more mass shootings?

And this is the results:

We concluded from our study that 88 percent of Americans favor more extensive background checks, regardless of identity. This was coupled together with 86 percent of Americans supporting tougher restrictions on gun ownership. However, we can infer that while most Americans supported increased gun policy, there is an aversion to compromising our individual values and rights to arms. Only 21 percent of Americans polled favored any removal of the right to arms.

What is most striking, is an even smaller majority of 62 percent believe that gun control will stop mass shootings. Even if Congress implemented more laws and restrictions on gun ownership and more background checks, 2 out of every 5 people will tell you do they not believe it will prevent more mass shootings. That’s almost half of the population!

(Breakdown: age 18-24: 170, age 25-34: 358, age 35-44: 276, age 45-54: 156, age 55-64: 90)

We broke it down further by age and political affiliation and found that as the age groups get older, the more pessimistic about gun control making any changes they become and the more they believe civilians should own guns.

(Breakdown: Constitution Party: 26, Green Party: 46, Libertarian: 100, Republican: 336, Democrats: 542)

Furthermore, regardless of political identity, there is simply a general lack of optimism on gun control effects overall across the board. Nearly half of all Republicans, Libertarian, Green, and Constitution party respondents don’t believe mass shootings will lessen with more gun control. And even through the Democratic party respondents were found to be more optimistic, 1 in every 4 persons are still not.

Regardless of any changes in gun control legislation, it is American's indifference that should be the most concerning; the significant dis-belief that further gun control will make a measurable difference in this violent trend. This is a clear reflection of Americans’ belief (or lack thereof) in the government and its inability to produce positive changes.