Gallup Poll Reveals How Most Americans Feel About Gun Control And Terrorism

Published June 15, 2016
Updated January 18, 2018
Published June 15, 2016
Updated January 18, 2018
Gallup Poll

Mark Lewis/Getty Images

A new Gallup poll reveals that the majority of Americans are in favor of stricter gun regulations.

Gallup first gathered this data on American attitudes toward guns and terrorism in December 2015, following the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California.

Now, after last weekend’s mass shooting in Orlando, Gallup’s findings take on chilling new relevance:

On Terror

Gallup found that most Americans think the best way to combat ISIS is through airstrikes “to take out leaders, heavy weapons, infrastructure.” At the same time, only 38 percent of Americans think “a new law that would prevent any Muslim from entering the U.S.” would help prevent terrorism.

On Guns

The survey found that even while the majority of Americans think making it harder to buy assault weapons would help control gun violence — 86 percent of people surveyed support instituting background checks — only 27 percent were in favor of banning handguns altogether. This might have to do with the fact thats many Americans own guns. Indeed, the survey found that four in ten Americans own a gun or have one in their home.

Perhaps most strikingly, the study found that most Americans simply don’t think much can be done to curb gun violence. 53 percent of those people in favor of background checks said that the checks would only help reduce mass shootings a “little or not at all.”

The same poll also found that hardly anyone — 19 percent of those polled — thought that implementing stricter gun control laws would reduce the frequency of mass shootings, even though 55 percent of people were in favor of those laws.

Prioritizing Goals

At the time Gallup collected this data, most Americans felt that neither gun violence nor gun control were major problems. On the other hand, most Americans felt that fighting terrorism was a top priority; 79 percent of Americans think of terrorism as a “critical” threat to the nation.

When it comes to selecting a leader who can best combat these threats, the study found that 50 percent of Americans think Donald Trump would handle threats to national security well. 46 percent of Americans polled favored Hillary Clinton.

Next, read more appalling stats on mass shootings in America. Then, find out why Congressman Jim Himes skipped out on a moment of silence for victims of the Orlando shooting.

Elisabeth Sherman
Elisabeth Sherman is a writer living in Jersey City, New Jersey.