Gun policy is a prominent topic of debate in the 2020 US election cycle. Tracking evolving public attitudes about gun policy is critical in this context. Using data from the National Survey of Gun Policy fielded in 2013, 2015, 2017, and 2019 by the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, we examined trends in support for more than two dozen gun policies over time by gun ownership status and political party affiliation, and across states. Most policies that we considered had majority support across the study period. We identified increases in public support over time for licensing and universal background checks of handgun purchasers, stronger regulation of gun dealers, and extreme risk protection orders. Gun owners and non–gun owners were highly supportive of requiring tests to demonstrate safe handling before carrying a concealed weapon, but there were large differences in support for other concealed carry policies by gun ownership status. A new item included in the 2019 survey showed that 84 percent of Americans supported requiring first-time gun purchasers to take a safety course. While gun policy continues to be characterized as highly polemical, large majorities of both gun owners and non–gun owners strongly support a range of measures to strengthen US gun laws.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy