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New Poll Reveals Americans' Views About The Likelihood Of Gun Control Have Changed After Santa Fe Shooting

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The number of Americans who think gun violence is a serious problem is declining, according to a HuffPost/YouGov poll released on Wednesday.


The survey of 1,000 adults found that while most Americans believe that passing sensible gun control laws without violating the Second Amendment remains a possibility, that percentage of people who share that view fell from 65 percent in February to 56 percent today.

Following February's massacre of 17 students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, 60 percent Americans viewed gun violence as a "very serious problem." That number has dropped to 52 percent.

Whether or not passing gun control laws is politically possible, however, only has 40 percent support among Americans, down from 50 percent just three months ago. The poll indicates a stark drop in the prospects for gun reform in the wake of more than 20 school shootings so far this year.


Democrats, however, are still far more optimistic about getting gun control done. Of those surveyed, 76 percent of Democrats responded that stronger gun laws could prevent future violence. Only 41 percent of Republicans agreed.

Last Friday, 10 people were murdered when a 17-year-old gunman stole his father's weapons and shot his way through Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas. Eight of the victims were students and two were substitute teachers, one of whom had gone back to work so her ailing husband could receive life-saving cancer treatment.

Unlike after the Parkland shooting, Americans seem to be numbing to the seemingly unending scourge of gun violence that continues to ravage our nation's schools and city streets. Demographic differences between Parkland and Santa Fe may help explain this. Parkland is a diverse community in densely populated Broward County, Florida. The Valentine's Day shooting took much of the country by surprise, and student survivors mounted a colossal nationwide effort to enact gun control measures to keep school safe. The March for Our Lives movement has held thousands of rallies and town halls across the United States.

By contrast, Sante Fe, Texas is a rural town in gun-friendly Texas, and the shooting wasn't met with widespread protests or organized marches of outrage. The cultural difference in the two communities shows that not all high school students are on the same page when it comes to gun violence. That's not to say people aren't upset, but there are stark disagreements about how to move forward and keep students safe.

"I don't think guns are the problem — I think people are the problem," a 16-year-old Santa Fe high school student told NBC. "Even if we did more gun laws, people who are sick enough to do something like this are still going to figure out a way to do it. So it doesn't matter."

There is some silver lining, though. An overwhelming majority of Americans, 78 percent, "say that they favor strengthening background checks for buying and selling guns," according to the Huffington Post. "They also say, 64 percent to 22 percent, that they favor raising the age for gun purchases to 21."