86% of Americans support law banning gun sales to people on terror watch list

William JordanUS Elections Editor
June 16, 2016, 5:27 PM GMT+0

A ban on assault rifles also receives majority support, but other terror-related policy changes – including a ban on Muslims entering the country – leave people more divided

An overwhelming majority of Americans would support a law that prevents people on the federal government’s terrorism watch list from buying guns, according to a new YouGov/Huffington Post poll. The proposal outlined is similar to one being pushed by President Barack Obama and several dozen members of Congress in the aftermath of the Orlando mass shooting.

In all, 86% would back such a law, with only 7% opposed. Support crosses traditional partisan boundaries, with 87% of Democrats and 87% of Republicans in favor of the change.

Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, staged a 15-hour filibuster in the Senate on Wednesday night to push for a vote on two laws: one banning gun sales to people on the terror watch list and another making changes to how the government conducts background checks. Sen. Murphy reportedly reached a tentative deal with Republicans on both measures.

There is also considerable support for a ban on assault rifles, something else that has been suggested by gun control advocates in the wake of Orlando. 62% are in favor of banning assault rifles, while 27% are opposed. There is a bigger gap between Democrats and Republicans on this issue, but Republicans still narrowly support it 48% to 42%.

Gun rights advocates have argued that there is no legal definition for “assault rifle”, a style of semiautomatic weapon, which is why past bans have failed.

Two other measures divide the public more evenly: a temporary ban on Muslim immigration into the United States, a proposal made by Donald Trump, has 44% support and 41% opposition. Additionally, 41% want to escalate the war against ISIS by sending combat ground troops to Iraq and Syria, while 36% oppose this option.

The Orlando shooter pledged fealty to the terror group ISIS before carrying out the attack, killing 49 and wounding 53 more at Pulse, a gay night club.

Americans are also more divided when it comes to rating how different leaders have reacted to the shooting. President Obama receives the highest rating, with 44% approving of his response and 43% disapproving. Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton gets a slightly lower approval rating of 38%, but the same 43% disapproval. Her Republican counterpart, Donald Trump, gets only 35% approval and 47% disapproval.

However, on the matter of who is better prepared to handle the threat of terrorism, Clinton and Trump are effectively tied, 35% picking Trump and 34% picking Clinton. 22% say neither is prepared. On protecting the Constitution’s 2nd Amendment, which established the right to bear arms, Trump has a much bigger 22-point edge (43% to 25%).

Full poll results and margin of error can be found here

Additional YouGov/HuffPost Poll results on gun control conducted before and after the Orlando attack.

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