Americans remain divided over gun policy, but a new poll shows a higher share of the public compared to a decade ago cares about preventing gun violence than protecting gun rights, NPR reports. The NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll of almost 1,300 adults also shows fewer Americans say they feel their community's schools are safe from gun violence. And, while a significant majority feels the answer to mass shootings is stricter gun laws, the percentage believing the solution is more people needing to carry guns has jumped 10 points in the last four years. Six in 10 say controlling gun violence is more important than protecting gun rights. That's the highest in 10 years and includes four in 10 gun owners. Two-thirds of Republicans side with protecting gun rights.
A majority, 57%, say schools in their community are safe. Those saying their local schools are not safe have jumped 10 points. There are wide divisions on semi-automatic, assault-style weapons, like the AR-15. Banning these kinds of weapons was Democrats' top choice for what could reduce gun violence, but only 13% of Republicans thought the same. Overall, 27% said banning assault-style guns would have the biggest impact, followed by mental health screenings, purchases at gun shows and private sales and red-flag laws. More than six in 10 say their first reaction when they hear about mass shootings is that there needs to be stricter gun laws. But, those saying people need to carry guns has also gone up by 10 points since 2019. A significant portion of the population, one in five, doesn't think anything will work. Overall, 41% say they or someone they know has experienced gun violence, for example, by being threatened with a gun or as the victim of a shooting. Non-whites were 10 points more likely than whites to experience gun violence or know someone who has.