Nearly two-thirds (63%) of U.S. adults say they are dissatisfied with the nation’s current gun laws, according to a Gallup report published February 15.
This is a seven-point increase from 2022 and it is the highest total in the 23-year history of this survey.
Dissatisfaction with laws was at 57% in 2001, the first year Gallup polled this question, with levels quickly dropping to 47% in 2002 and 2003. From 2004 to 2012, more adults were satisfied than were dissatisfied.
This trend changed after the mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, and from 2013 to the present more adults have been dissatisfied than satisfied with gun regulations.
The seven-point increase this year “comes in the wake of 2022, a year marked by the second-highest number of mass shootings in recent U.S. history,” the report said, noting that the mass shootings at the supermarket in Buffalo, New York, and another at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, “were the impetus behind the passage of the first significant federal gun legislation in nearly three decades.”
While the report was published two days after a mass shooting at Michigan State University, the survey was conducted in January 2023, so it doesn’t account for any impact or influence the 71st mass shooting this year might have on public opinion.
A plurality of adults (40%) say they are “very dissatisfied” with current gun laws (tying 2019 for the all-time high), with 23% “somewhat dissatisfied.”
By comparison, 24% are “somewhat satisfied” and 10% are “very satisfied” (the second lowest total) with the status quo. The remaining 3% did not express an opinion.
Dissatisfaction is highest among Democrats and Democrat-leaning Independents (84%), compared to 44% of Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents.