Assault Rifle 01

A majority of Utahns say they would support banning the use of assault-style weapons in the wake of several high-profile incidents of gun violence. Utahns also say they would support banning high-capacity ammunition magazines.

A new Utah Political Trends poll conducted for UtahPolicy.com by Y2 Analytics finds 58% of Utahns support outlawing assault-style weapons, while 59% support outlawing high-capacity ammunition magazines.

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Democrats in Congress have tried to rally support for an assault weapons ban since high-profile mass shootings at a Walmart in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio occurred on the same day, but they don’t have enough votes. The El Paso shooter allegedly used an AR-15 style rifle to kill 22 people and wound 26 others. On the same day in August, a gunman armed with high-capacity magazines killed nine people and wounded 27 in under a minute before police killed him.

In 1994, Congress passed an assault weapons ban, which also outlawed magazines that could hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Congress allowed the law to expire in 2004. A Stanford Law professor found gun massacres dropped in frequency and deadliness while the ban was in place, but deaths from mass shootings jumped nearly 350% in the decade after the assault weapons ban was not renewed.

The Utah Political Trends poll mirrors national sentiment on the issue. A recent Monmouth poll found 56% of Americans approve of a ban on assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons.

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There is a significant gender gap in the survey findings, with women much more open to banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

  • Nearly ¾ of women say they would support an assault weapons ban, with the same number favoring outlawing high-capacity magazines.
  • Men are nearly evenly divided on nixing assault-style weapons, with 41% favoring such a ban and 46% opposed. We see the same split on banning high-capacity magazines, with 46% in favor and 45% opposed.

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Republicans are divided on both potential measures to curb gun violence, while Democrats are decidedly in favor of both types of bans.

  • 53% of “strong” Republicans say they oppose a ban on assault weapons, while nearly half (49%) oppose prohibiting high-capacity magazines.
  • More Republicans who describe themselves as moderate favor banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, while independents who lean Republican are mostly against such bans.
  • True independents are mostly against both types of bans.
  • All of the subgroups of Democrats in our survey were decidedly in favor of bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

The Utah Political Trends survey was conducted by Y2 Analytics from August 22-September 2, 2019. 1,044 registered Utah voters were surveyed with a margin of error +/- 3.1%. You can read more about the poll methodology here.