Polls Show America’s Young People Want Gun Safety Reform

Memorandum

To: Interested Parties
From: Katie Peters, Communications Director
Date: April 18, 2018
Re: Polls Show America’s Young People Want Gun Safety Reform

This week marks the anniversaries of both the Virginia Tech and Columbine shootings. It is a time to remember all victims of our gun violence crisis. But this year is also different because, on Friday, students, teachers and parents across the country will be taking time out of their day once again to make a loud and very public demand that lawmakers take action to address gun violence. This level of activism would not be happening without the passion and ingenuity of young students, many of whom plan to vote for the first time this November.

Since the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, young Americans have organized marches and town halls, questioned their elected officials and voiced their opinions on how they’d like our country to handle issues involving guns. And now, a raft of new evidence proves that they are not only ready to challenge the status quo – they’re gearing up to show up and vote on this issue in November. If gun safety galvanizes youth turnout, it could have a significant impact on this year’s midterm elections. The Brookings Institute noted that “if young people can double their 2014 national turnout in 2018 up to 34 percent, as happened in Virginia, that would provide an additional four million voters nationally. This is enough to make a difference in close races and help Democrats win seats. Significant gains in these midterms would put legislators on notice that voters are watching and young people are not happy with current policy decisions.”

Recent polling shows young Americans want action to stop gun violence.

According to a Harvard University’s Institute of Politics poll covered in the Washington Post

  • 37 percent of Americans under 30 indicate they will “definitely be voting in the upcoming midterms. This is compared to 23 percent in 2014.
  • 7 in 10 of Americans under age 30 who plan to vote in the midterm elections believe gun-control laws should be stricter.
  • 58 percent support a ban on assault weapons, up significantly from 41 percent in 2013.

According to a YPulse survey commissioned by Giffords and Everytown for Gun Safety

  • Gun violence prevention is the top issue among young people in deciding who to vote for in the 2018 midterm elections.
  • 91 percent say a candidate’s position on guns is important when deciding who to vote for in 2018.
  • 73 percent of young people feel gun laws should be stronger (compared to 20% who feel they should be less strong or kept the same).
  • 72 percent of respondents say they agreed somewhat or completely with the statement, “If politicians continue to do nothing in the wake of more and more people dying from gun violence, they should not be re-elected.”
  • 60 percent of 15- to 18-year-olds say they are “passionate” about reducing gun violence.

Graphic showing young people's view on gunsA USA Today-Ipsos poll found that:

  • 53 percent of 13- to 24-year olds say gun violence was a major concern of theirs.
  • 54 percent believe gun control measures and stronger background checks would assist in reducing mass shootings.
  • Respondents overwhelmingly believe by a 7-1 margin that people treated for mental illnesses should not be allowed to own firearms.

An Abodo Poll found:

  • 80.15 percent of respondents believe the U.S. has a problem with mass shootings.
  • 52 percent support the Second Amendment, but believe more must be done to address gun violence.
  • 52.6 percent of current gun owners do not believe the Trump administration is doing enough to deal with gun violence.

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