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44 Percent of GOP Voters View Mass Shootings as Part of Living in “Free Society”

The poll was conducted a week after a gunman killed 19 students and two adults at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

People pay tribute and mourn at a makeshift memorial for the victims of the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas, on May 31, 2022.

A new poll has found that a remarkable percentage of Republican voters believe that nothing can be done to prevent mass shootings in the future.

A CBS News/YouGov poll conducted from June 1-3 asked respondents if mass shootings are “something we have to accept as part of a free society” or if they’re something “we can prevent and stop if we really tried.” Overall, most Americans rejected the first premise, with just 28 percent saying mass shootings are something we now have to live with, while 72 percent said that mass shootings are a phenomenon we can put an end to.

There were sharp partisan differences in the poll, however. Eighty-five percent of Democrats said mass shootings were something that could be prevented, while 73 percent of independents agreed. But Republicans were more likely to have a pessimistic viewpoint.

While 56 percent of Republican respondents did say that we could stop mass shootings if we tried, 44 percent said they are the price of living in a free society.

The numbers are alarming, especially after recent mass shootings that have occurred in Uvalde, Texas, Buffalo, New York, Tulsa, Oklahoma, and other parts of the country.

Those shootings and years of inaction on the issue have led a group of bipartisan lawmakers in Congress to draft a new bill to address gun violence in the U.S. — but because they are hoping to garner enough votes to avoid a Republican filibuster, it’s likely that lawmakers will not include several measures that President Joe Biden recently called for, including a renewal of the assault weapons ban and an expansion of federal background checks for all gun sales.

Instead, the proposal will likely focus on expanding so-called “red flag” laws, as well as addressing mental health care and increasing school security standards.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut) acknowledged that difficult conversations have been taking place in the negotiations, but sounded optimistic that some form of legislation would be passed.

“It’s really tough sledding,” he said on Sunday. “But I’ve never been part of conversations that are this serious and this thoughtful before, and I know all the Republicans and Democrats who are at the table are there with total sincerity to get an agreement.”

Still, there’s no guarantee that a bipartisan bill will be passed, and indeed, a significant number of Americans do not believe that anything will be done in the near future to address mass shootings.

Meanwhile, Rep. Don Beyer (D-Virginia) is drafting a gun reform proposal that could pass through the reconciliation process, which would circumvent a Republican filibuster and the need to reach the 60-vote threshold in the Senate; instead, the bill could pass with a simple majority vote in that chamber. The measure would tax assault weapons and other gun accessories at a rate of 1,000 percent, making them less affordable and therefore more difficult to purchase.

The bill would “restrict the flow of weapons of war into American communities – including AR-15’s and high capacity magazines,” Beyer wrote on Twitter this week.

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