Politics & Government

Poll shows Americans support both an assault weapons ban and carrying guns for self defense

A new Washington Post/ABC poll shows a majority of Americans narrowly support an assault weapons ban yet also support carrying guns for self-defense after the Orlando shooting.
A new Washington Post/ABC poll shows a majority of Americans narrowly support an assault weapons ban yet also support carrying guns for self-defense after the Orlando shooting. AP

A narrow majority of Americans support banning assault weapons, but a majority also supports carrying guns for self defense, according to a new Washington Post/ABC news poll released Tuesday.

The poll, conducted June 20 through June 23, indicates 51 percent of adult respondents generally supported assault weapons bans, while 48 percent said they opposed it. Opinions on the topic also tended to be strong — only 10 percent of respondents on each side said they would only “somewhat” support or oppose a hypothetical ban.

At the same time, a majority of Americans polled supported encouraging more people to legally carry guns for self defense — 54 percent of adults polled in support, compared to 42 percent who said they opposed it. Men showed stronger support for carrying guns for self defense, with 61 percent of them polling in favor compared to 48 percent of women.

The poll also surveyed respondents on their reactions to the mass shooting in Orlando, which claimed 49 lives and wounded 53 in the deadliest such attack in modern American history. Poll respondents gave higher marks to presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton across the board on her response to the tragedy compared to presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump. Clinton polled higher when respondents were asked who showed “better temperament” and who “gave you the most confidence they could handle the situation as president.”

Clinton also polled better when respondents were asked who had better proposals to combat terrorism, with a 9-point lead over her likely general election opponent.

The poll interviewed 1,001 adults by phone from across the country, with a margin of sampling error of 3.5 percentage points.

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