Public Opinion Polling
The Center utilizes public opinion polling and other research to better understand trends in gun ownership, attitudes towards firearms carrying, and other issues related to guns and gun violence in the United States.
The Center has conducted three national surveys since the December 2012 massacre in Newtown, Connecticut –surveys were fielded in January 2013, January 2015, and January 2017. In each of these surveys, results indicate broad support for many gun violence prevention policies among both non-gun owners and gun owners. The next survey will take place in January 2019. Our Center has also conducted surveys specifically on safe storage among gun owners.
A national survey fielded in 2017 on support for 24 different gun policies found little difference in support between gun owners and non-gun owners for 15, or 63 percent, of the policies surveyed. For 23 of the 24 policies examined, the majority of respondents supported gun restrictions or regulations, including requiring a background check on every gun sale (universal background check) and prohibiting a person subject to a temporary domestic violence restraining order from having a gun for the duration of the order. 
“Policies with high overall support among both gun owners and non-gun owners may be the most feasible to enact, and some have strong evidence to support their ability to reduce gun violence. Widespread claims that a chasm separates gun owners from non-gun owners in their support for gun safety policies distracts attention from many areas of genuine agreement—areas that can lead to policy solutions and result in the prevention of gun violence.”
– Colleen Barry, Center Faculty
Select JOURNAL ARTICLES
- Support for gun policies among young adults in the U.S., 2017-2019. Stone EM, Barry CL, Crifasi CK, Webster DW, Vernick JS, McGinty EE. Prev Med. 2020 Jun;135:106094.
- Differences in Public Support for Handgun Purchaser Licensing. Crifasi CK, Stone EM, McGinty EE, Vernick JS, Barry CL, Webster DW. Injury Prevention. 2020 Feb; 26(1):93-95.
- Trends in Public Opinion on US Gun Laws: Majorities of Gun Owners And Non-Gun Owners Support A Range of Measures. Barry CL, Stone E, Crifasi CK, Vernick JS, Webster DW, McGinty EE. Health Affairs. 2019 Oct;38(10):1727-1734.
- Local Public Health Policymakers' Views on State Preemption: Results of a National Survey, 2018. Rutkow L, McGinty MD, Wetter S, Vernick JS. Am J Public Health. 2019 Aug;109(8):1107-1110.
- Desirability of Personalized Guns Among Current Gun Owners Crifasi CK, O’Dwyer JK, McGinty EM, Webster D, Barry C. American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
- Public Support for Gun Violence Prevention Policies Among Gun Owners and Non-Gun Owners in 2017. Barry CL, Webster DW, Stone E, Crifasi CK, Vernick JS, McGinty EE. Am J Public Health. 2018 Jul;108(7):878-881. Epub 2018 May 17.
- Storage Practices of US Gun Owners in 2016. Crifasi CK, Doucette ML, McGinty EE, Webster DW, Barry CL. Am J Public Health. 2018 Apr;108(4):532-537.
- Two years after Newtown--public opinion on gun policy revisited. Barry CL, McGinty EE, Vernick JS, Webster DW. Prev Med. 2015 Oct;79:55-8.
- Effects of news media messages about mass shootings on attitudes toward persons with serious mental illness and public support for gun control policies. McGinty EE, Webster DW, Barry CL. Am J Psychiatry. 2013 May;170(5):494-501.
- After Newtown--public opinion on gun policy and mental illness. Barry CL, McGinty EE, Vernick JS, Webster DW. N Engl J Med. 2013 Mar 21;368(12):1077-81.
- Survey: Majority of Current Gun Owners Support the Sale of Personalized Guns
Mon, 10 June 2018
- Little Difference Between Gun Owners, Non-Owners on Key Gun Policies, Survey Finds
Thu, 17 May 2018
- Survey: More Than Half of U.S. Gun Owners Do Not Safely Store Their Guns
Thu, 22 Feb 2018
- Large Majority of Americans—Including Gun Owners—Support Stronger Gun Safety Policies
Wed, 03 Jun 2015
- Majority of Americans Support Dozens of Policies to Strengthen U.S. Gun Laws
Mon, 28 Jan 2013
 Barry et al. Public Support for Gun Violence Prevention Policies Among Gun Owners and Non-Gun Owners in 2017. Am J Public Health. 2018 Jul;108(7):878-881. Epub 2018 May 17.