BREAKING NEWS : Fort Wayne police investigate shooting on Sherman Boulevard Full Story
SEVERE WX : Severe Thunderstorm Watch View Alerts

Will more young people support gun control after Parkland? Recent history suggests no.

In the aftermath of the shooting in Parkland, Florida last week, some of the student survivors are calling on Congres...

Posted: Feb 20, 2018 12:27 PM
Updated: Feb 20, 2018 12:27 PM

In the aftermath of the shooting in Parkland, Florida last week, some of the student survivors are calling on Congress to pass legislation that would address gun violence in schools.

Their public calls raise an interesting question: Will there be a significant shift among the younger generation of today in favor of stricter regulation on guns?

It's difficult to answer -- few things in politics are static. It's possible that the Parkland shooting and the efforts of the survivors will drive an uptick in support for gun control among young people and Americans overall. However, over the last 20 years, even as mass shootings have become more frequent, they have not led to a sustained period in which adults, or young adults specifically, became more in favor of gun control.

Those who are now 18 to 34 years old entered adulthood after school shootings became a frequent occurrence (i.e. since Columbine in 1999) and they are not significantly more in favor of gun control than the average American.

CNN has asked Americans whether they are for or against stricter gun control nine times since the beginning of 2013, in the weeks following the elementary school shooting at Sandy Hook.

While any one survey result for a subsample that is as small as those under the age of 35 could be an outlier, the average of nine surveys tells us a lot. In the average survey, 50% of Americans said they were for stricter gun control. The same nine polls found on average that 49% of Americans under the age of 35 were for stricter gun control. In other words, the difference was statistically insignificant.

I also checked to see if more recent surveys during this five-year period suggested any sort of uptick in support for stricter gun control among younger adults. There wasn't. The last four surveys conducted by CNN discovered that 50% of those under 35 were for stricter gun control. That's identical to the 50% of all Americans who said they were for gun control in the same surveys.

There's no sign in the Pew Research Center's data either that younger adults are greatly more in favor of gun control than the average American. Pew asked respondents whether it's more important "protect the right of Americans to own guns, or to control gun ownership." During the eight times they asked it since 2013, 49% of adults said they thought it was more important to control gun ownership. In the same set of surveys, 52% of those under the age of 30 said it was more important to control ownership. Again, that's not a statistically significant difference.

That young adults aren't any more likely to be in favor of stricter gun laws than the average America is even more remarkable when you consider that young adults today are politically more liberal than young adults at the time of Columbine. In fact, mass shootings didn't make young adults more in favor of gun control than the average American. It may have had the opposite effect.

In the five Pew surveys taken between 1999 and 2000 on gun control, an average of 70% of those under the age of 30 said that controlling gun ownership was more important than protecting the right for Americans to own guns. That's 18 points higher than the percentage of those under the age of 30 who felt controlling gun ownership was more important over the last five years.

The fact that young adults today are less in favor of gun control isn't too surprising, given the overall trend. Pew showed that 61% of all Americans thought it was more important to control gun ownership from 1999 to 2000 compared to 49% in the average poll since 2013.

Still, no other age group (30- to 49-year-olds, 50- to 64-year-olds and those 65 years old and older) had a drop of more than 10 percentage points in support of gun control from the 1999-2000 period compared to the last five years. The 18-point decline in support of gun control among those under 30 during that period is nearly double any other age group.

One area in which younger adults differ on guns than the rest of Americans is that slightly fewer of them own guns. According to a 2017 Pew study, 27% of those under the age of 30 own a gun compared to 30% of Americans overall. The General Social Survey (aggregated from 2014-2016 for a larger sample size) finds a somewhat wider gap: 13% of adults under 30 say they own a gun compared to 21% of all adults.

Even on gun ownership though, there is no trendline to indicate that younger people today are more anti-gun than younger people around the time of Columbine. In the General Social Survey around the time of Columbine (aggregated from 1998-2000), 13% of all adults under the age of 30 said they owned a gun. That's the same as today. The lack of movement fits with the steadiness of Americans overall in the percentage who own guns.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 74328

Reported Deaths: 3041
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion15860725
Lake7570275
Elkhart484384
Allen3902163
St. Joseph350081
Hamilton2763104
Vanderburgh196313
Hendricks1887108
Cass17959
Johnson1757118
Porter131639
Clark123347
Tippecanoe121111
Madison97965
LaPorte91130
Howard89065
Kosciusko85212
Bartholomew79347
Marshall78422
Floyd77946
Monroe75630
Delaware73052
Dubois69612
Boone67846
Noble67829
Hancock66038
Vigo65110
Jackson5865
Warrick58130
LaGrange55910
Shelby55327
Grant52630
Dearborn50828
Morgan47634
Clinton4343
Henry38320
Wayne37710
White36910
Montgomery35421
Lawrence34627
Harrison33823
Decatur33732
Putnam2888
Miami2742
Daviess27320
Scott26810
Greene25034
Jasper2432
Franklin24214
DeKalb2324
Gibson2254
Jennings22512
Steuben2103
Ripley2087
Carroll1912
Fayette1897
Perry18612
Starke1787
Orange17124
Posey1710
Wabash1693
Fulton1682
Wells1682
Jefferson1632
Knox1540
Whitley1526
Washington1401
Tipton13810
Spencer1363
Sullivan1261
Huntington1223
Randolph1224
Clay1215
Newton11810
Adams1012
Jay910
Owen901
Pulaski831
Rush804
Fountain742
Brown731
Ohio655
Blackford642
Benton610
Pike530
Switzerland520
Vermillion520
Parke511
Crawford450
Martin450
Union410
Warren221
Unassigned0206

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 100848

Reported Deaths: 3669
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin18317524
Cuyahoga13514499
Hamilton9643255
Lucas5348323
Montgomery436294
Summit3555222
Butler292963
Marion292545
Mahoning2554255
Pickaway238742
Stark1827139
Warren178939
Lorain177078
Columbiana165860
Trumbull1524106
Fairfield138732
Delaware130119
Licking128149
Clark114614
Lake111438
Wood104358
Clermont93311
Medina92335
Miami83938
Tuscarawas78214
Portage75861
Allen74044
Greene69012
Belmont62126
Mercer61213
Richland60412
Erie57527
Ashtabula56946
Geauga55644
Wayne53958
Ross4844
Huron3965
Darke39529
Ottawa38626
Hancock3783
Sandusky37716
Madison37410
Athens3571
Holmes3286
Lawrence2830
Auglaize2546
Union2511
Muskingum2361
Jefferson2292
Scioto2261
Seneca2143
Knox2057
Putnam20517
Preble2032
Washington20322
Shelby1944
Coshocton1936
Champaign1762
Crawford1745
Morrow1702
Hardin16512
Clinton1646
Highland1581
Logan1552
Fulton1481
Wyandot1468
Ashland1443
Defiance1444
Williams1353
Perry1303
Brown1292
Hocking1189
Guernsey1177
Henry1172
Fayette1130
Carroll1115
Monroe9318
Pike760
Jackson740
Van Wert711
Paulding690
Gallia651
Adams612
Meigs400
Vinton312
Harrison261
Morgan260
Noble160
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Scattered Clouds
86° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 93°
Angola
Broken Clouds
84° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 91°
Huntington
Broken Clouds
86° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 94°
Decatur
Scattered Clouds
84° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 88°
Van Wert
Scattered Clouds
84° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 88°
Storms Monday Night
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events