Speed Reads

Gun Laws

Two-thirds of voters back assault weapons ban in Fox News poll after El Paso, Dayton shootings

An overwhelming 90 percent bipartisan majority favors expanding background checks to all gun buyers in a Fox News poll released late Wednesday, and 81 percent support "red flag" laws to remove guns from people deemed a danger to themselves and others. Perhaps more surprisingly, 67 percent of voters surveyed favor banning assault-style rifles and other semiautomatic weapons, up from 60 percent last year. The poll was conducted Aug. 11-13, about a week after back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.

That two-thirds majority that favors an assault weapons ban includes 53 percent of people living in a gun-owner household, 58 percent of independents, and 86 percent of Democrats; Republicans are split 46 percent to 46 percent, versus 41-56 percent opposed in a 2018 Fox News poll.

A majority of voters (56 percent) placed a great deal of blame for mass shootings on easy access to guns and inadequate mental health services for people with violent tendencies, while 40 percent blamed expressions of white nationalism, 34 percent blamed Trump's rhetoric, and 39 percent — including 54 percent of Republicans — blamed bad parenting. By a margin of 60 percent to 17 percent, voters told Fox News pollsters that a mass shooting by an American citizen is a bigger threat than Islamist terrorist attacks. Seventy-one percent said the government has the ability to reduce gun violence; 42 percent said there's no chance Congress will act on it this year.

The poll was conducted via phone by Beacon Research (D) and Shaw & Co. (R) among 1,013 registers voters nationwide. It has a margin of sampling error of ±3 percentage points for all registered voters.