A new Pew Research Center survey released Monday found that while gun control is still a highly divisive issue, "there are clear areas of agreement when it comes to a number of gun policy proposals."
Eighty-five percent favored making private gun sales and sales at gun shows subject to background checks, with comparable support from Republicans, Democrats and independents. And 80 percent back laws to bar mentally ill people from purchasing guns, with broad support across party lines.
However, the report found, "this bipartisan consensus breaks down when it comes to other proposals. Two-thirds of Americans (67 percent) favor creating a federal database to track gun sales, but there is a wide partisan divide between Democrats (84 percent) and Republicans (49 percent).
"A smaller majority of the public (55 percent) favors a ban on assault-style weapons; Democrats (69%) also are far more likely than Republicans (44 percent) to support this. Similar partisan divides exist when it comes to banning high-capacity ammunition clips or the sale of ammunition online."
The survey was taken Jan. 9 to 13 among 1,502 adults.
It also asked questions about school safety and found "widely different results."
"By a two-to-one margin (64 percent-32 percent), most favor putting armed security guards and police in more schools. But when it comes to more teachers and school officials having guns, most are opposed (40 percent favor vs. 57 percent oppose). The latter option is particularly divisive across party lines: 56 percent of Republicans would like to see more teachers and school officials armed, compared with just 23 percent of Democrats.
"The survey finds that supporters of gun rights are more politically active than are supporters of gun control. Nearly a quarter (23 percent) of those who say gun rights should be the priority have contributed money to an organization that takes a position on gun policy, compared with just 5 percent of those who prioritize gun control. People who favor gun rights are also about twice as likely as gun control supporters to have contacted a public official about gun policy.