May 27, 2022
Fifty-one percent of Americans favor a nationwide ban on the sale of AR-15 rifles and similar semiautomatic assault weapons, while 32% are opposed. An additional 18% hold neither opinion.
The poll was conducted May 12-16, the same weekend of the shooting at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York. Roughly three-quarters of the interviews were conducted before the racist attack that killed 10 Black adults and injured three more.
Most Democrats, regardless of ideology, favor a ban on AR-15 rifles and similar semiautomatic weapons. Though 58% of Republicans oppose the ban, there are stark differences depending on ideology. Sixty-nine percent of conservative Republicans oppose such a ban. However moderate and liberal Republicans are more closely divided: 42% favor a ban on semiautomatic weapons and 38% oppose.
Older Americans are more inclined to favor a ban on semiautomatic assault weapons while younger people are more likely to not have a firm opinion. Fifty-eight percent of those age 45 and older favor a ban on semiautomatic weapons, 31% oppose, and 11% neither favor nor oppose. Among Americans age 18-44, 43% support such a ban, 32% oppose, and 24% neither favor nor oppose.
The public’s attitudes are similar to views in AP-NORC polls conducted December 2019 and July 2020. Support for a ban on semiautomatic weapons has been higher, such as in a March 2018 survey conducted in the aftermath of the school shooting in Parkland, FL and a survey conducted in March 2019 at the same time as the shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand.
The nationwide poll was conducted May 12-16, 2022 using the AmeriSpeak® Panel, the probability-based panel of NORC at the University of Chicago. Online and telephone interviews using landlines and cell phones were conducted with 1,172 adults. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4.0 percentage points.
- Suggested Citation: AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. (May 2022).“ Increasingly negative views on national outlook and economy” [https://apnorc.org/projects/views-on-assault-weapons-remain-partisan/]