The poll shows broad support among Americans for establishing a database to track all gun sales (71 percent) and for a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines (65 percent). Fifty-one percent support a ban on semiautomatic handguns.
Some of the policy disagreements reflect diverse opinions about the causes of gun violence. Overall, 56 percent say inadequate treatment of mental illness contributes “a great deal” to gun violence, and the same percentage say insufficient background checks are a major cause. Next on the list is a lack of individual responsibility among firearm owners. Fewer — 38 percent — see violent movies, television programs and video games as playing a big role, although more Republicans than Democrats say entertainment is a main contributor to gun violence.
In addition to partisanship and gun ownership, perception of the threat of mass shootings is related to support for new measures. Among those who are very worried about a mass shooting where they live, 65 percent back a nationwide ban on semiautomatic handguns. In a mirror image, 65 percent of those who are not concerned oppose such a ban.