Sign calling for a ban on assault weapons
A sign calling for a ban on assault weapons, captured at the March for Our Lives 2022 in Washington, D.C. by Victoria Pickering.

The cause of gun safe­ty in Wash­ing­ton State con­tin­ues to gain momen­tum, with an increas­ing per­cent­age of like­ly vot­ers in Wash­ing­ton State favor ban­ning assault weapons, new research from the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute shows.

Our polling has pre­vi­ous­ly found that a major­i­ty of Wash­ing­to­ni­ans strong­ly sup­port an assault weapons ban. We unveiled this find­ing with Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son, state law­mak­ers, and the Alliance for Gun Respon­si­bil­i­ty last June after the tragedy in Uvalde. A few weeks lat­er, it was cor­rob­o­rat­ed by Sur­veyUSA and its part­ners (The Seat­tle Times, KING5, UW, and WSU).

Ahead of an expect­ed vote in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives to final­ly ban assault weapons, we decid­ed to check in with the pub­lic and get fresh numbers.

In our win­ter 2023 sur­vey, which just returned from the field a few hours ago, 58% of respon­dents told us they sup­port­ed ban­ning assault weapons, while 40% said they were opposed and 3% said they were not sure. A major­i­ty of like­ly vot­ers (51% in this sur­vey) con­tin­ue to be strong­ly supportive.

The ques­tion we asked was iden­ti­cal to the one in our June 2022 survey:

QUESTION: Do you strong­ly sup­port, some­what sup­port, some­what oppose, or strong­ly oppose ban­ning the sale, trans­port, man­u­fac­ture, or import of mil­i­tary-style assault weapons like the AR-15 rifle in Wash­ing­ton State?


  • Sup­port: 58% 
    • Strong­ly sup­port: 51%
    • Some­what sup­port: 7%
  • Oppose: 40%
    • Some­what oppose: 8%
    • Strong­ly oppose: 32%
  • Not sure: 3%

Our sur­vey of 874 like­ly 2024 Wash­ing­ton State vot­ers was in the field from Tues­day, March 7th through today, Wednes­day, March 8th, 2023.

The poll uti­lizes a blend­ed method­ol­o­gy, with auto­mat­ed phone calls to land­lines (50%) and online answers from cell phone only respon­dents (50%).

It was con­duct­ed by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute, and has a mar­gin of error of +/- 3.3% at the 95% con­fi­dence interval.

Com­pared to June, total sup­port has increased from 56% to 58%, and total oppo­si­tion has increased from 38% to 40%. Cor­re­spond­ing­ly, the per­cent­age of vot­ers who aren’t sure has been halved, drop­ping from 6% to 3%.

All age groups remain sup­port­ive of ban­ning assault weapons. In this sur­vey, the inten­si­ty of sup­port was strongest among seniors — vot­ers old­er than six­ty-five, rather than the youngest vot­ers. 59% of them strong­ly sup­port a ban and anoth­er 6% are some­what sup­port­ive, for a total of 65%. Young vot­ers do remain enthu­si­as­tic, thought not quite to the extent as in our sur­vey back in June. 64% of those ages eigh­teen to twen­ty-nine expressed sup­port in this poll.

What real­ly impressed us was that sup­port has gone up with inde­pen­dent and Repub­li­can vot­ers. 29% of Repub­li­can vot­ers expressed sup­port for a ban, up from 21% last June, and 46% of inde­pen­dent vot­ers expressed sup­port, up from 44% last June. More than eight in ten Demo­c­ra­t­ic vot­ers remain sup­port­ive as well. The coali­tion of vot­ers that wants to ban assault weapons is a durable one!

Mul­ti­ple sea­sons have passed since the tragedy in Uvalde, but the rock sol­id sup­port we pre­vi­ous­ly found for pro­hibit­ing the sale, trans­port, man­u­fac­ture, and import of weapons like the AR-15 has endured. Most Wash­ing­to­ni­ans want to see this hap­pen. The Leg­is­la­ture must get this crit­i­cal bill passed this session.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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