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What would reduce gun violence in St. Louis? Poll shows views about what could work

In a poll from June 24-26, St. Louis adults rated gun violence as the biggest health problem in St. Louis. Three weeks later, in a follow-up survey among the same adults, 37% selected “banning semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles” as the most effective way of reducing gun violence in St. Louis, followed by “increasing the strictness of background checks” (26%).

Respondents chose from eight options, which appeared in random order. Other top choices were “increasing mental health awareness, prevention and treatment” (11%); “providing more safe spaces for teens and young adults” (8%); and “increasing the number of police officers” (5%).

About 6% of participants suggested solutions not listed among the options one survey. Most of these responses focused on holding parents responsible for youths’ misuse of guns and keeping violent criminals incarcerated.

Among the top choices, responses varied by sub-groups:

  • More Whites than Blacks selected banning semi-automatic weapons (43% vs 29%); and
  • Respondents identifying as “frontline workers” were more likely than other community members to select increasing strictness of background checks (31% vs 19%).

This report is based on 156 responses from a panel of adult residents of St. Louis City and County surveyed from Saturday, July 15, to Monday, July 17, 2023. Explore these data and more at iHeardSTL.

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