America’s parents show increasing concern over gun violence — CBS News poll
Social pressures. Bullies. Academics. These are all things generations of American children have had to worry about.
Today, their parents tell us, there’s another worry weighing on most of them, too: the prospect of gun violence.
It’s increasingly on parents’ minds, as well; concern among America’s parents now is even higher than it was last summer.
Today, 77% are at least somewhat concerned. Last year it was already high at 72%.
Six in 10 parents say that their kids express worry over gun violence, either a lot or sometimes.
While not as high as those perennial kids’ concerns like bullying and social pressures, it is nonetheless true for most families in cities and suburbs; for those with higher and lower incomes; across racial groups; and in every region of the country. In short, the worry that kids have over gun violence is reported almost everywhere.
Americans overall report feeling “frustrated” over the political gun debate — more so than any other descriptor they could pick, even more than “angry” and a lot more than “satisfied.” And gun violence in particular does rank as a very important issue by nearly two-thirds of Americans.
That frustration may be, in part, because most Americans don’t see either political party as particularly effective in keeping people safe from gun violence.
These views are driven by sharp partisan divides in which each side thinks the other’s gun policies put people at risk. In relative terms the Democrats fare only the slightest bit better on that comparison.
Some of this is related to one particular policy idea — a ban on AR-15s — that most Americans continue to support.
Those who favor the idea are more likely to think the Democrats’ approach would be safer; those opposing it tend to see Republicans’ approach as leading to safety by a wide margin.
That said, most Americans haven’t entirely given up hope on the matter, with three in four saying mass shootings are something we could “prevent and stop if we really tried,” and not something we have to “accept as part of a free society.”
That includes a large majority of gun owners, four in 10 of whom also support a ban on AR-15s.
More broadly, we continue to see dramatic ideological differences in how Americans view guns and what they mean. Given a long list of descriptors, about half of Americans say guns make the country “dangerous,” more so than “safe” by a wide margin.
But the ideological breaks on that are sharp.
Liberals overwhelmingly — and moderates mostly — pick that word “dangerous,” while majorities of conservatives say guns make the country “free,” “strong,” and “safe.”
Along these lines, most liberals, along with most moderates, think the U.S. would be safer if fewer people — or if no one — had guns. By contrast, four in 10 conservatives think the U.S. would be safer if more people — or everyone — had guns.
This CBS News/YouGov survey was conducted with a nationally representative sample of 2,065 U.S. adult residents interviewed between April 12-14, 2023. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the U.S. Census American Community Survey and Current Population Survey, as well as the 2020 presidential vote. The margin of error is ± 3.2 points.