In the wake of one of the deadliest eruptions of gun violence in years, Washington gropes for solutions. While broad consensus seems far-off, there appears to be agreement among college students on how to amend gun laws. 

According to the latest WBRU/College Reaction poll conducted on August 7th (n=528 student respondents)

• 97% support universal mandatory background checks on all gun purchases

• 74% support the ban of the AR-15 and other high-power weapons used in mass shootings

• 70% would ban political donations by the NRA and other gun lobbyists

• 45% say gun violence makes them reconsider attending public events

To measure the divide between youth voters' views and those of the general public, we compared our findings to 538's aggregated voter data on gun reform:

Universal background checks on all gun purchases

• Gen. public: 87%

• Students: 97%

Banning assault weapons

• Gen public: 62%

• Students: 74%

The debate: In terms of moving on the overwhelming support for gun safety, Congress is grappling with several modest measures. Both are simple, but even a small dent in the unfettered gun supply would represent a decisive blow to gun lobbyists' vise-grip on gun legislation. Furthermore, Senator Chris Murphy is writing a book on gun violence set to release next year, Congressman Eric Swalwell suspended his presidential bid to focus on gun violence, and Beto O'Rourke has upped the emphasis on gun reform after the shootings in his hometown of El Paso.

• S.2521 - known as Red Flag Laws - would allow people "to request an extreme risk protection order" on people who they believe poses an "imminent risk to themselves or others" and requires a court order.

    Sponsors: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

• Sen. Susan Collins (R-NH),

• Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH)

• Former Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO)

• H.R.8 aims to "require a background check for every firearm sale"

    Original sponsors: Rep. Peter King (R-NY-2)

• Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY-10)

• Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-1)

• Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX-18)

• Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL-18)

• Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL-2)

• Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI-6)

• Rep. Lucy McBath (D-GA-6)

• Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ-4)


Data in this report are generated from a poll conducted on August 7th, 2019. A total of 528 respondents participated in the poll. The margin of error for the full sample is +/- 4 points

College Reaction’s polling is conducted using a demographically-representative panel of college students from around the country. The surveys are administered via college e-mail address to ensure current enrollment in a four-year institution. The target population for the general population sample was students currently enrolled in accredited 4-year institutions in the US.

Respondents in this poll were randomly selected from a ~10,000 respondent database, which aims to mirror the broader college demographic from a racial, geographic and political standpoint. Results are weighted to mirror race and gender statistics of the college demographic as defined by the National Center for Education statistics.

College Reaction sends the survey to the randomly-generated sample of students via email. The email asks the respondent to complete the attached survey. Student typically have 24-48 hours to fill out the given survey.

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