New Poll: Gun Owners See the NRA as Out of Touch

April 25, 2017 – As the National Rifle Association (NRA) prepares to kick off its annual convention in Atlanta later this week, a new national survey of gun owners finds overwhelming opposition to the dangerous policies and positions supported by the Washington gun lobby. The poll, released today by Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC, also finds that a many gun owners believe that the NRA has become increasingly out of touch with them on important gun safety issues and shows that a majority of gun owners believe the NRA has lost its way, straying from its original purpose and mission.

“As a lifelong gun owner, I’ll be the first to say gun owners want our leaders to do more to save lives and make our communities safer,” said Captain Mark Kelly, co-founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions and husband of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. “When it comes to preventing gun violence, there are some things we can all agree on. Whether you are a Republican gun owner, a Democrat gun owner, or an NRA member – we can all agree that when guns end up in the wrong hands the results are devastating. It’s unacceptable that every day 91 Americans are killed by a gun. We’ve got to do better.”

The poll illustrates a disconnect between the views of gun owners and the priorities being pushed by the gun lobby. Key federal legislative priorities named by the NRA, including federally mandated concealed carry, deregulating the sale of gun silencers, and eliminating gun-free school zones, receive very low support from gun owners themselves.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • The NRA is out of touch with gun owners on gun safety issues. 67 percent of the gun owners feel that the NRA used to be an organization dedicated to gun safety, but it’s been overtaken by lobbyists and the interests of gun manufacturers and lost its original purpose and mission. Less than 50 percent of gun owners feel that the organization represents their interests.
  • Gun owners overwhelming support requiring a permit to carry concealed. Nearly 9 out 10 gun owners, 88 percent, believe the requirement to have a permit to carry a concealed handgun in a public place should remain in place.
  • By a 3 to 1 margin, gun owners do not want to deregulate the sale of silencers. Since the 1930s, the sale of silencers has been regulated the same way as machine guns and short-barreled rifles; to purchase a silencer buyers must have a clean criminal record and register the silencer with law enforcement. Nearly 3 out of 4 gun owners – 73 percent – support current law regarding the sale of silencers, while just 24 percent believe silencers should be deregulated.
  • Gun owners overwhelmingly support background checks and want to see elected officials do more to keep guns out of the wrong hands. 80 percent of gun owners support requiring a background check on all gun sales, including those sold online or at gun shows, while just 16 percent oppose them. 86 percent of gun owners support prohibiting anyone convicted of stalking or domestic abuse from buying a gun, and 85 percent of gun owners support prohibiting those on the federal terror watch list or no-fly lists from buying a gun.
  • A majority of gun owners support gun-free school zones. By a 2 to 1 margin, gun owners support laws, like the Gun-Free School Zones Act, that prevent guns from being carried in K-12 schools.
  • Gun owners are more likely to support politicians who support strong gun laws. 73 percent of gun owners are more likely to support a candidate who supports background checks for all gun purchases. 66 percent are more likely to support a candidate who supports gun violence prevention policies.
  • ​The poll was conducted by Public Policy Polling, on behalf of Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC. The survey was comprised of 661 gun owners between April 19-20, with a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.

Read the full poll results here.

Additional Background and Related Resources

Federally Mandated Concealed Carry: The NRA is working to pass a federal law mandating that each state recognize concealed carry permits from every other state. The problem is that standards for issuing permits to allow individuals to carry hidden, loaded firearms in public are dangerously lax in many states. Twelve states do not even require a permit to carry concealed firearms. Forcing states with strong gun laws like Oregon and New Mexico to comply with weak laws from states like Florida and Louisiana will endanger public safety and make it significantly harder for police to enforce gun laws that have proven to save lives. (Fact Sheet: Federally Mandated Concealed Carry)

Deregulating Gun Silencers: The gun lobby supports rolling back a federal law that’s been in place for over 80 years that prevents dangerous people from purchasing gun silencers. Silencers are added to guns to reduce the sound of gunfire and mask muzzle flash. They make it difficult for people who are nearby, including law enforcement, to identify the sound of gunshots and locate an active shooter. The gun lobby-backed bill would ease regulations on gun silencers, making these dangerous weapons easier to obtain – and inevitably making them more accessible to felons, domestic abusers, and people suffering a mental health crisis.(Fact Sheet: Gutting Federal Regulation of Silencers)

Ending Gun-Free School Zones: President Trump vowed to end gun-free school zones when he was on the campaign trail – and for years, one of the NRA’s top priorities in states has been to pass laws that allow firearms inside K–12 schools and permit college students and others to carry guns on campus. These irresponsible laws ignore the truth about gun violence and pose a clear, demonstrable danger to our students, teachers, and communities.(Fact Sheet: Repealing the Gun Free School Zones Act)