Majorities of Americans support banning homemade guns and semi-automatic weapons

Taylor OrthDirector of Survey Data Journalism
July 14, 2022, 7:32 PM GMT+0

While polling conducted in the wake of Congress's passage of new bipartisan gun legislation indicates broad support for measures included in the law – such as enhanced background checks – recent shootings have revived discussions around forms of gun control not included in the recent bill. The first is the mass shooting at a parade in Highland Park, Illinois on July 4th, an event which 88% of Americans report having heard about. The second is the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on July 8th, which 75% of Americans are aware of.

Recent polling from the Economist/YouGov finds that majorities of Americans support regulations limiting the type of firearms used in the two aforementioned shootings, including the banning of semi-automatic weapons (like the one used in Highland Park) and of homemade guns (like the one used in Abe’s assassination). Two-thirds of people also support red flag laws to keep weapons out of the hands of people who are seen as a danger to themselves or others; the alleged Highland Park shooter wasn't stopped by an Illinois red flag law.

  • 67% of Americans support red flag laws that allow a court to temporarily remove guns from people that are believed to pose a danger to themself or others
  • 63% support banning homemade guns
  • 55% support banning semi-automatic weapons

Red flag laws, which received renewed attention as part of the recently passed federal law, are supported by majorities of Republicans and Democrats. Yet only about half of Republicans support banning homemade weapons, and even fewer support banning semi-automatic weapons such as the one used in Highland Park.

Less than one-third of Republicans support stricter gun laws in general, compared to 53% of Americans overall. Republicans are much less likely than Democrats to think new regulations would be effective in preventing gun violence. No more than one-third of Americans say each of several specific measures would be “very effective” in reducing gun violence. But majorities of Americans do say each of several measures would be at least somewhat effective.

Below, we list the percentage of Americans who think each of the following are very or somewhat effective at reducing gun violence:

  • 66% say red flag laws are very or somewhat effective at reducing gun violence
  • 56% say banning homemade guns is effective
  • 56% say banning semi-automatic weapons is effective

The same poll also asked Americans their opinions on the Supreme Court’s ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, which forbade states and local governments from restricting the carrying of guns outside the home and claimed that restrictions on carrying guns outside the home would violate the Second Amendment right to bear arms. About half of Americans (49%) approve of this decision, while fewer (38%) do not approve of it.

- Carl Bialik contributed to this article

This poll was conducted on July 9 - 11, 2022 among 1,500 U.S. adult citizens. Explore more on the methodology and data for this Economist/YouGov poll.

Image: ballyscanlon via Getty Images