Washington, DC — Recent news media has given extraordinary amounts of coverage to the gun control debate. In reaction to this uptick in coverage, BuzzFeed and Ipsos have partnered to examine owners’ views toward recent policy proposals around gun violence prevention. A majority of gun owners support a series of proposals recently discussed by President Trump and members of Congress to curb gun violence, namely allowing family members to petition courts to temporarily prevent individuals from buying or possessing a gun if they pose a threat to themselves or others (77%), raising the minimum age to buy a high-capacity semi-automatic rifle to 21 (72%), banning the sale of bump stocks (71%), training and allowing teachers to carry a gun (62%), and raising the legal gun ownership age from 18 to 21 (60%).
Despite majority support for these proposals, gun owners are wary about too many restrictions being placed upon them. A majority oppose legislation that would ban AR-15s entirely (55%) and 59% of respondents believe that doing so would be the first step toward more restrictive gun laws. In fact, should the government ban a gun model that a respondent already owns, most would not turn over their newly banned gun. Just 22% say they would do so in such a situation. Furthermore, a majority (61%) report that their views toward gun policy have not changed in light of recent mass shootings, and most gun owners (59%) agree that the way they are portrayed in the media is mostly unfair.
Among gun owners, just 16% report that they are a member of the NRA. Views of the NRA are quite different between members and non-members. 46% of all gun owners believe the NRA is an important defender of Second Amendment rights, but NRA members (77%) and non-members (40%) display a big disparity in this belief. 27% of non-members even go so far as to spurn the NRA as a reflection of their beliefs or interests as a gun owner. NRA membership also impacts support for a number of policies across the board, namely raising the legal gun ownership age from 18 to 21 and raising the minimum age to buy high-capacity semi-automatic rifles to 21. 40% of NRA members believe in raising the legal gun ownership age and 53% support raising the minimum age to 21 for buying high-capacity semi-automatic rifles. Comparatively, non-members support these proposed policies at rates of 64% and 76%, respectively. NRA members also report owning more guns compared to non-members. 17% of Americans report owning more than 5 guns, but 38% of NRA members report so compared to 13% of non-members.
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About the Study
These are findings from an Ipsos poll conducted March 1-6, 2018, on behalf of BuzzFeed. For the survey, a sample of roughly 1,052 gun owning adults age 18+ from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii were interviewed online in English. The sample includes 175 NRA members and 877 non-NRA members.
The sample for this study was randomly drawn from Ipsos’s online panel (see link below for more info on “Access Panels and Recruitment”), partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling (see link below for more info on the Ipsos “Ampario Overview” sample method) and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. Population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2016 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Post-hoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, race/ethnicity, region, and education.
Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online nonprobability sampling polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points for all respondents. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=1,052, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=5.0).
The poll also has a credibility interval plus or minus 8.4 percentage points for NRA members, plus or minus 3.8 percentage points for non-NRA members.
Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks fourth in the global research industry.
With offices in 88 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across five research specializations: brand, advertising and media; customer loyalty; marketing; public affairs research; and survey management.
Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.
Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,782.7 million in 2016.