As we recently reported, when it comes to the second amendment, voters, by a solid margin, prefer it to be guaranteed as opposed to altered as a reaction to gun violence. However, when we asked those same voters to indicate which of the following options came closest to their opinion:

Statement A: There should be new federal regulation of certain guns and accessories; for example, the 'bump stock', which can alter semi-automatic rifles to fire at a rapid pace. Stricter gun laws will prevent felons, the mentally ill, or other dangerous people from getting their hands on an assault weapon with such ease and committing mass murder. Protecting many people from tragedy is the price the American people should pay by relinquishing some of their second amendment right to keep and bear arms.

Statement B: New federal regulation of certain guns and accessories such as the 'bump stock' will not prevent massacres or gun violence from happening. Recent events in Europe and American cities such as Chicago are evidence stricter gun laws do not prevent mass murder; it doesn't matter what laws you pass, felons, the mentally ill, and other dangerous people will get a hold of some weapon and commit mass murder. The American people have the natural right to keep and bear arms.

Our results showed that majority of respondents (53%) prefer Statement A to Statement B (39%). This preference extends across a wide range of demographic groups (males and females, all age groups, those with and without college degree) but does show some partisan patterns as Republicans (56% prefer Statement B vs. 38% who prefer Statement A), conservatives (58% prefer Statement B vs. 34% who prefer Statement A) and those who approve of President Trump (60% prefer Statement B vs. 34% who prefer Statement A) prefer Statement B to Statement A.

Taken together, our data illustrate the complexity of the public's views about gun rights. On one hand, the public doesn't want to mess with the second amendment. However, the public appears to willing to consider various regulations of gun laws and, in general, believes that various restrictions do serve the purpose in making it harder for dangerous people to obtain guns.

Please click here to view the methodology statement.