Gun Owners and Non-Gun Owners Agree on More Than You Might Think

Despite what the NRA would have you believe, today’s gun owners share many of the same concerns about firearm violence with people who don’t own guns — at least, according to this just-published study.

Entitled “Public Support for Gun Violence Prevention Policies Among Gun Owners and Non–Gun Owners in 2017,” the report examined 24 potential policies to reduce gun violence. For 23 out of the 24 policies, not only did a majority of gun-owners support those policies, but their level of support was also very similar to that of non-gun owners.

This study clearly demonstrates that gun owners as a demographic group care about gun violence and are willing to support measures that aim to reduce mass shootings. But more importantly, these results demonstrate that gun owners and non-gun owners are, for the most part, in close agreement about potential solutions to this crisis.

Finding common ground is not as difficult  as a minority of vocal gun advocates make it seem.

The data from this study is in line with the results of an NPR/Ipsos poll taken after the Parkland shooting. That survey showed that Republicans and Democrats alike want improved gun safety laws — but this more detailed study demonstrates that there’s less disagreement than we’ve been led to believe about the most effective policies for addressing the problem.

The gun lobby — particularly the NRA — has worked hard to cultivate the appearance of deep division about gun reform. But, in reality, there’s a lot of room for publicly popular and bipartisan legislation to help keep kids safe.

The influence of the NRA, both on the public conversation and on elected officials within the Republican Party, is hard to overstate. Largely unnoticed at the time, NRA shills in Congress were instrumental in passing legislation that restricted the Center for Disease Control from using any of their funding to study gun violence.

This policy made it possible to trot out the misguided talking point that there is simply no evidence that gun safety legislation would be effective, thereby stalling votes on commonsense measures to protect children. An informative overview of the major political barriers that have been placed on gun research can be found here.

The NRA has been playing a long game — and playing it well, until fairly recently. John Oliver effectively summed up the NRA’s modus operandi, including that bit of legislation related to research dollars, in a story that came out around the time of the Las Vegas shooting:

The intense, sustained scrutiny of NRA spokespeople and NRA-backed politicians since Parkland has put pressure on the group’s hardline stance. And unbelievably frequent mass shootings, which have reached the point of being a near-daily occurrence, means it’s impossible for the public to forget the issue.

Yet despite all this pressure and public support, we can’t get a vote on gun violence prevention measures. As unpopular politically as it is, this loyalty to the gun lobby has been bought and paid for. So it will still be necessary to vote the shills out of office. Vote in Democrats or Republicans who do not accept NRA donations, who support commonsense laws to combat this scourge of violence and who have the courage to say, well …

Take Action!

Sign this Care2 petition to demand that Congress acts now to pass legislation banning assault rifles.

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Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons


Marie W
Marie W4 months ago

Thank you for posting.

Naomi D
Naomi Dreyer10 months ago


Jamie C
Jamie Clemons10 months ago

We are concerned, but just don't agree that your idea of more regulation will change anything other than make it more difficult for the people who actually do follow the laws that are already on the books.

Paul B
Paul B10 months ago

I have a suggestion that even the left may agree with.
If the government can effectively confiscate all the weapons from the criminal element first, then law-abiding citizens would be willing to discuss reducing their gun ownership to some degree.
It's like the same with illegal immigration. Build a wall and effectively reduce or eliminate the entry or illegals, deport all illegal criminals and all the visa holders that have overstayed their visas, then we will gladly discuss a path to citizenship for those here already.
That would show a real intent to "fix" the problem we have with guns and illegals in society. Without that concession, then we can only assume they aren't really serious about fixing anything.

Eric Lees
Eric Lees10 months ago

@Terence Nelson
"As a view from the other side of the Pond, I doubt the people writing the famous Amendment (the right to carry arms) in the 18th. century had repeating assualt weapons in mind. This was a time of single shot black powder muskets and pistols. Military weapons belong where the title says - with the military!"

It's actually very hard and expensive to buy a machine gun. They have been illegal to manufacture since 1986. None of the shooting were carried out with military weapons. Yes the AR15 is the modern equivalent of a musket, the common gun in use.
Is the threat of Tyranny, oppression, war any less today than when the Bill of Rights was written? Actually more so given all the conflicts around the world.

Eric Lees
Eric Lees10 months ago

@Frederick Urbasek
"Eric Lees, take your gun and stick it up your Liberty."

Frederick, you seem to have some anger issues. Maybe you should talk to a therapist.

Paul B
Paul B10 months ago

Frederick, How about 4.
Increase school security with armed resource officers, and or willing and trained teachers/staff.
Stop the PROMISE programs that hide people like Cruz from investigation.
Improve state and federal authority data systems that would improve background checks.
Securing school facilities with restricted access during school hours.

Angela G
Angela G10 months ago


Terence Nelson
Terence Nelson10 months ago

As a view from the other side of the Pond, I doubt the people writing the famous Amendment (the right to carry arms) in the 18th. century had repeating assualt weapons in mind. This was a time of single shot black powder muskets and pistols. Military weapons belong where the title says - with the military!

Winn Adams
Winn Adams10 months ago

Petition signed in 2016. What's wrong with this picture . . . . . .