A focus group involving 12 swing voters in Minnesota revealed that, for many who have switched their vote from one party to the other over the past eight years, a federal ban on assault weapons is strongly desired.
The Engagious/FPG focus group asked the group of swing voters on Monday myriad questions about assault weapons, background checks, and the federal government’s response to the issue, Axios reported. The group met in the wake of two mass shootings that occurred over the weekend, one in El Paso, Texas, that saw 22 individuals killed, and another in Dayton, Ohio, which saw 9 individuals murdered.
The focus group included eight individuals who voted for former President Barack Obama but who also voted for current President Donald Trump. There were also four individuals who voted for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in 2012, but selected Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Within the group, the question over a federal assault weapons ban wasn’t even a question at all, really, as all 12 participants raised their hands indicating they backed the idea. They also unanimously supported the idea of background checks on gun purchases, as well as more access to mental health for those in need.
The group rejected, however, the idea that more guns should be placed in public spaces. “That’s not a solution at all,” one respondent said.
They also voiced skepticism over the belief that a gun ban on assault weapons would lead to a total ban on guns in general. “A bunch of B.S.,” said another respondent.
In two tweets earlier this week, Trump voiced nominal support for a background checks bill (which he wanted connected with immigration reforms) that would require every gun purchaser to undergo such verifications before being sold a weapon, although in the days since he has put more of his focus on mental health issues instead.
Experts on mental health have cautioned against such an approach, CNN reported, arguing that it would be ineffective toward stopping future mass shootings and stigmatizing toward those with mental illness in the U.S.