Eighty-eight percent (88%) of voters favor a legal process that protects individual rights but empowers police to take guns from people credibly reported to be public threats or mentally unstable. A new ScottRasmussen.com national survey found that only 12% disagree.
The public support for “Red Flag Laws” is little changed since last fall. It is found among every major age and ethnic group in the country. Ninety-two percent (92%) of Democrats favor the idea along with 89% of Independents and 82% of Republicans (see crosstab results).
Following the horrific news from El Paso and Dayton, support in Congress may be growing. On Monday, President Trump declared “We must make sure that those judged to pose a grave risk to public safety do not have access to firearms and that if they do those firearms can be taken through rapid due process.”
While it was not explored in the survey, there is likely to be significant disagreement about the specific details of what constitutes an appropriate legal process that protects individual rights. There will also be substantial distrust between those who want to end or severely limit gun ownership and those who defend the Second Amendment. But the broad support for the concept indicates a strong public desire to find the right balance. This may be a case where different states try different approaches to determine best practices.
Other survey results show that 81% of voters believe it is currently too easy to buy a gun. Ninety-two percent (92%) support modest restrictions on buying guns such as background checks and waiting periods. However, just 39% think such modest restrictions would significantly reduce the number of gun-related deaths in America. Those beliefs are little changed from a year ago.
Fifty percent (50%) of Democrats say modest restrictions would significantly reduce the number of gun deaths in America. That view is shared by 38% of Independent voters and 29% of Republicans. Those who live in urban areas are far more likely than suburban or rural residents to believe such restrictions would have a significant impact.
Forty-nine percent (49%) believe that someone seeking to buy a gun should be required to first get permission from the government and explain why they need it.
Thirty-one percent (31%) believe the United States should ban private ownership of guns so that only the military, police, and other government officials are allowed to carry guns. That’s up from 23% a year ago.
Still, most voters (56%) would feel safer living in a community where people are free to own guns rather than a community where guns are outlawed.
Only 12% of voters recognize that most gun deaths are suicides.
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The national survey of 1,000 Registered Voters was conducted August 6-7, 2019 by ScottRasmussen.com and HarrisX, a polling company specializing in online surveys (see Methodology and a Demographic Profile of the Sample). Results from the full sample have +/-3.1 Margin of Sampling Error with a 95% level of confidence.
Neither Scott Rasmussen nor ScottRasmussen.com has any relationship with Rasmussen Reports® (see About Us).