America's relationship with guns has become increasingly complicated, a Pew research study finds.
Even though Americans agree more on some gun related issues — 89 percent supported preventing the mentally ill from purchasing guns and 84 percent of all adults surveyed supported background checks for private sales at gun shows — partisan support for gun policies cause opinions to diverge.
When polled on the severity of gun violence in America, 65 percent of Democrats said it was a "very big problem," compared to 32 percent of Republicans. Even as the majority of Democrats (92 percent) and Republicans (74 percent) find gun violence to be at least a moderately big issue, they differ greatly on the cause of it.
More than three-quarters of Democrats (76 percent) said legal gun access causes a great deal or a fair amount of gun violence, while just 39 percent of Republicans agreed.
The study found that the source of mass shootings is highly disputed between political parties. Fifty-one percent of Democrats believe if more Americans own guns, there will be a rise in mass shootings. More Republicans, 56 percent, however, say there would be fewer mass shootings if more Americans owned guns. While 64 percent of Democrats say stricter gun laws would cause fewer mass shootings, 54 percent of Republicans say it would not make a difference.
Americans are most divided on expanded concealed carry. Nearly three-quarters of Republicans support it, compared to just 26 percent of Democrats. Coming in a close second is a proposal authorizing teachers to carry guns in K-12 schools received overwhelming support by Republicans — 69 percent — with 26 percent backing from Democrats.