Even 1 in 5 Trump-voters favour stricter handgun controls, says poll

A new YouGov poll suggests that over half of Americans favour stricter handgun sale laws – including a quarter of Republicans.

The latest YouGov/Economist poll asked American voters a series of questions on guns and gun control. Conducted between the 7th and 10th October, the poll took place following the Las Vegas shooting which killed 58 people.

Asked about the sale of handguns in America, 51% favoured stricter laws. A further 28% supported no change while just 8% favoured less strict laws.

Unsurprisingly, the poll found a clear partisan divide, with 80% of Democrats and 86% of Hillary voters supporting stricter rules. It also found that 25% of Republicans and 21% of Trump voters supported a tightening of the rules, which is higher than one might have expected, considering the strong association between the Republicans and the country's second amendment. A further 54% of Republicans said they favoured no change.

The poll also suggests the following:

  • 59% of Americans strongly favour gun bans for people with mental illness
  • 53% said they supported banning semi-automatic weapons
  • Just 24% said they favoured banning all handguns sales (except for officers)
  • 68% said they supported a five-day waiting period for people who buy handguns

The issue of gun control is one that has long divided America, but this poll makes one thing very clear. While there are party political and ideological divides amongst the voters, the issue is not a binary choice of gun control versus no controls. The issue sits on a continuum, with different voters favouring varying levels of regulation. Very few Americans support the banning of guns while very few also support unlimited access for any American. There is a middle-ground to be found, but the question is: where is it and what might it look like?

The full results of the YouGov poll can be accessed here. (7th – 10th October).

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