A new poll released Wednesday by the Texas Politics Project at The University of Texas at Austin shows that a majority of Texas voters favor stricter gun control measures. This is in line with national trends, as support for gun control has been increasing in recent years. The poll also found that a majority of Texans support policies such as "red flag" laws and a ban on some semi-automatic rifles that have failed to gain traction with Republican state leaders.
The poll comes weeks after a mass shooting in the small town of Uvalde, Texas. The shooting, which left 19 children and two teachers dead, has reignited the debate over gun control in Texas. In the wake of the shooting, former Democratic Congressman Beto O'Rourke, who is running for Governor, called for stricter gun laws, and has made calling on his opponent, incumbent Governor Greg Abbott to take action part of his daily talking points.
Despite the increase in attention and the recency of the shooting, the poll states that results, “revealed no major shifts in attitudes related to guns after the Uvalde killings. Majorities of Texans expressed support for gun control measures in similar magnitudes to polling conducted prior to Uvalde: 78% supported expanded background checks on all gun purchases in the United States, including at gun shows and during private sales, while 16% opposed such changes. When asked about allowing courts “to require a person determined to be a risk to themselves or others to temporarily surrender guns in their possession,” commonly called a “red flag law,” 66% expressed support while 24% were opposed. Such laws are in effect in nineteen states and the District of Columbia, not including Texas."
The Texas Politics Project's poll shows that there is widespread support for some of the gun control measures that O'Rourke and other Democrats have proposed. Results of the poll showed that "43%, expressed the opinion that if more people carried guns, the U.S. would be less safe. While 77% of Democrats expressed the view that more guns would lead to less safety, the majority of Republicans, 57%, expressed the opposite opinion. At the same time, a majority of Texas voters, 52%, expressed the view that gun control laws should be made more strict — a consistent finding over 10 polling results going back to 2015. The majority of Democrats, 85%, want to see gun laws made stricter, while the plurality of Republicans, 46%, would like to see gun laws left alone".
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has been focused on sharing his efforts on border security, job creation, and the Texas economy. Opting to share pre recorded remarks at the NRA convention held in Houston, TX just days after the Uvalde, TX shooting rather than attending in person, Abbott has previously been a vocal opponent of stricter gun control measures, and it will be interesting to see how, or if he responds to this poll.
The results of the Texas Politics Project's poll show that there is significant support for stricter gun control measures among Texas voters. With mass shootings becoming increasingly common, it is likely that this issue will continue to be a major political issue in the state.
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