Resistance to a ban on military-style assault weapons is strongest among millennials, according to a new Quinnipiac poll released this week.
Opposition to an assault weapon ban was strongest among Republicans and among self-identified registered voters 18-34, the poll found. Unlike older Americans, millennials were closely divided on their support for an assault weapon ban, with 49% supporting and 44% opposing a ban.
There was huge support for a return to banning the sale of assault weapons from voters over 50, with 70% support from over-50s and 77% support from over-65s.
For younger Americans, “these are guns that, as long as they’ve been part of the gun culture, have been very common and fairly typical guns, and that’s less true with somebody who was, say, born in 1930,” said Dave Kopel, a gun rights advocate and firearms law expert at the Independence Institute in Colorado.
People who grew up with the gun culture of the 1950s might be more accustomed to brown wooden hunting-rifles, while younger gun owners may be more used to the black polymer rifles that are often categorized as “assault weapons”, Kopel said.
Because different Americans may have radically different conceptions of what an assault weapon is, the results of the survey on whether they should be banned should be judged with some skepticism, Yamane cautioned.