Special Report

The Senators Doing the Most to Regulate Guns

Kameleon007 / iStock via Getty Images

According to voters, gun policy is one of the top problems facing America today. A recent Pew Surveyfound that 60% of American adults consider gun violence a very big problem, ranking it among the top five issues – along with inflation, drug addiction, health care costs, and partisan gridlock. But none of these other major problems is nearly as politically divisive as gun control. 

The same Pew survey found that only 38% of Republican and Republican-leaning voters consider gun violence a serious problem, compared to 81% of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters. This partisan division is also reflected in positions taken by many of the most powerful lawmakers on Capitol Hill. 

Using data from the nonprofit gun rights lobbying group, Gun Owners of America, 24/7 Wall St. identified the strongest gun control advocates in the U.S. Senate. GOA assigned 96 of the 100 sitting U.S. senators with a letter grade, from A+ to F-, for their positions on gun legislation, with the highest grades going to the most pro-gun lawmakers, and the lowest to the most staunch supporters of gun control. The 50 senators on this list are split into two groups, starting with those who received a grade of F, and followed by those with an F-, and are listed alphabetically.  

Partisanship has been a defining feature of Congress for years, but few issues embody this more clearly than gun control. The list of 50 U.S. senators with a grade of F or F- from the GOA includes every Democrat in the chamber and only one Republican, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

While gun policy is the single most important issue for many voters, when it comes to assessing their representative’s job performance,the bulk of Americans take multiple factors into account. And despite potentially alienating themselves from pro-gun voters, many senators on this list remain relatively popular with their constituency. (Here is a look at the states with the strictest gun control laws.) 

Of the 10 most popular U.S. senators, identified by a 2023 survey from public opinion research company Morning Consult, five appear on this list – as do over half of the 50 most popular senators. Meanwhile, Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (I) of Arizona, Bob Menendez (D) of New Jersey, and Joe Manchin (D) of West Virginia, are the only lawmakers on this list to rank among the 10 least popular sitting U.S. senators. (Here is a look at the most, and least, popular Democrats in the senate.)

It is important to note that GOA gun policy grades are based only on the most recent available data, and that some prominent lawmakers have shifted their positions in recent years. Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R) of Wyoming, for example, was hard set against expanded background checks, a position she walked back in the wake of the 2022 school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Still, Lummis received an A from the GOA, which was assigned in 2020,the year she was elected to the U.S. Senate. 

Click here to see the most anti gun senators.

Click here to see our detailed methodology.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) of Wisconsin
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2018: F (reliably supports gun control legislation)
> 2023 popularity: 44% approve, 42% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2025

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Source: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Sen. Michael Bennet (D) of Colorado
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2022: F (reliably supports gun control legislation)
> 2023 popularity: 47% approve, 33% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2029

Source: Stephen Brashear / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D) of Washington
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2018: F (reliably supports gun control legislation)
> 2023 popularity: 50% approve, 33% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2025

Source: Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Sen. Chris Coons (D) of Delaware
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2020: F (reliably supports gun control legislation)
> 2023 popularity: 53% approve, 33% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2027

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Source: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D) of Illinois
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2022: F (reliably supports gun control legislation)
> 2023 popularity: 51% approve, 34% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2029

Source: Mark Makela / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Sen. John Fetterman (D) of Pennsylvania
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2022: F (reliably supports gun control legislation)
> 2023 popularity: 43% approve, 40% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2029

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Source: Darren McCollester / Getty Images

Sen. Margaret Hassan (D) of New Hampshire
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2022: F (reliably supports gun control legislation)
> 2023 popularity: 50% approve, 40% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2029

Sen. Martin Heinrich (D) of New Mexico
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2018: F (reliably supports gun control legislation)
> 2023 popularity: 43% approve, 34% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2025

Source: Pool / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Sen. Mark Kelly (D) of Arizona
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2022: F (reliably supports gun control legislation)
> 2023 popularity: 53% approve, 38% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2029

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Sen. Ben Lujan (D) of New Mexico
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2020: F (reliably supports gun control legislation)
> 2023 popularity: 44% approve, 37% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2027

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Source: Scott Eisen / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Sen. Edward Markey (D) of Massachusetts
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2020: F (reliably supports gun control legislation)
> 2023 popularity: 55% approve, 26% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2027

Source: Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) of Nevada
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2022: F (reliably supports gun control legislation)
> 2023 popularity: 50% approve, 40% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2029

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Sen. Jeff Merkley (D) of Oregon
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2020: F (reliably supports gun control legislation)
> 2023 popularity: 47% approve, 33% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2027

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) of Alaska
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2022: F (reliably supports gun control legislation)
> 2023 popularity: 48% approve, 46% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2029

Source: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Sen. Patty Murray (D) of Washington
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2022: F (reliably supports gun control legislation)
> 2023 popularity: 50% approve, 38% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2029

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Source: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Sen. Jon Ossoff (D) of Georgia
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2020: F (reliably supports gun control legislation)
> 2023 popularity: 46% approve, 37% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2027

Sen. Alex Padilla (D) of California
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2022: F (reliably supports gun control legislation)
> 2023 popularity: 44% approve, 27% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2029

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Source: Pool / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Sen. Gary Peters (D) of Michigan
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2020: F (reliably supports gun control legislation)
> 2023 popularity: 43% approve, 33% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2027

Source: Sarah Silbiger / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Sen. Brian Schatz (D) of Hawaii
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2022: F (reliably supports gun control legislation)
> 2023 popularity: 65% approve, 24% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2029

Source: Christian Petersen / Getty Images

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I) of Arizona
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2018: F (reliably supports gun control legislation)
> 2023 popularity: 42% approve, 44% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2025

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Source: Pool / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Sen. Jon Tester (D) of Montana
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2018: F (reliably supports gun control legislation)
> 2023 popularity: 58% approve, 33% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2025

Source: Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D) of Maryland
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2022: F (reliably supports gun control legislation)
> 2023 popularity: 51% approve, 23% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2029

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Source: Win McNamee / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Sen. Mark Warner (D) of Virginia
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2020: F (reliably supports gun control legislation)
> 2023 popularity: 50% approve, 33% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2027

Source: Elijah Nouvelage / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) of Georgia
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2022: F (reliably supports gun control legislation)
> 2023 popularity: 49% approve, 42% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2029

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Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Sen. Peter Welch (D) of Vermont
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2022: F (reliably supports gun control legislation)
> 2023 popularity: 62% approve, 25% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2029

Source: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D) of Connecticut
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2022: F- (carries or cosponsors gun-control legislation and reliably supports gun-control bills)
> 2023 popularity: 54% approve, 36% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2029

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Source: Scott Olson / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Sen. Cory Booker (D) of New Jersey
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2020: F- (carries or cosponsors gun-control legislation and reliably supports gun-control bills)
> 2023 popularity: 47% approve, 37% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2027

Source: Win McNamee / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) of Ohio
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2018: F- (carries or cosponsors gun-control legislation and reliably supports gun-control bills)
> 2023 popularity: 44% approve, 35% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2025

Source: Mark Wilson / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D) of Maryland
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2018: F- (carries or cosponsors gun-control legislation and reliably supports gun-control bills)
> 2023 popularity: 52% approve, 23% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2025

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Source: Jeff Fusco / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Sen. Thomas Carper (D) of Delaware
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2018: F- (carries or cosponsors gun-control legislation and reliably supports gun-control bills)
> 2023 popularity: 54% approve, 29% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2025

Sen. Richard Durbin (D) of Illinois
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2020: F- (carries or cosponsors gun-control legislation and reliably supports gun-control bills)
> 2023 popularity: 47% approve, 35% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2027

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Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) of California
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2018: F- (carries or cosponsors gun-control legislation and reliably supports gun-control bills)
> 2023 popularity: 45% approve, 38% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2025

Source: Kena Betancur / Getty Images

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) of New York
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2018: F- (carries or cosponsors gun-control legislation and reliably supports gun-control bills)
> 2023 popularity: 47% approve, 32% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2025

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Source: Thomas Cooper / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

Sen. John Hickenlooper (D) of Colorado
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2020: F- (carries or cosponsors gun-control legislation and reliably supports gun-control bills)
> 2023 popularity: 48% approve, 35% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2027

Source: Pool / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D) of Hawaii
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2018: F- (carries or cosponsors gun-control legislation and reliably supports gun-control bills)
> 2023 popularity: 60% approve, 30% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2025

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Source: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Sen. Timothy Kaine (D) of Virginia
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2018: F- (carries or cosponsors gun-control legislation and reliably supports gun-control bills)
> 2023 popularity: 47% approve, 36% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2025

Source: Scott Olson / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D) of Minnesota
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2018: F- (carries or cosponsors gun-control legislation and reliably supports gun-control bills)
> 2023 popularity: 53% approve, 36% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2025

Source: Sarah Silbiger / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Sen. Joe Manchin (D) of West Virginia
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2018: F- (carries or cosponsors gun-control legislation and reliably supports gun-control bills)
> 2023 popularity: 38% approve, 55% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2025

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Source: Kena Betancur / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Sen. Robert Menendez (D) of New Jersey
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2018: F- (carries or cosponsors gun-control legislation and reliably supports gun-control bills)
> 2023 popularity: 40% approve, 39% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2025

Source: Pool / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Sen. Christopher Murphy (D) of Connecticut
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2018: F- (carries or cosponsors gun-control legislation and reliably supports gun-control bills)
> 2023 popularity: 55% approve, 32% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2025

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Sen. John Reed (D) of Rhode Island
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2018: F- (carries or cosponsors gun-control legislation and reliably supports gun-control bills)
> 2023 popularity: 54% approve, 27% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2027

Sen. Jacky Rosen (D) of Nevada
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2018: F- (carries or cosponsors gun-control legislation and reliably supports gun-control bills)
> 2023 popularity: 42% approve, 36% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2025

Source: Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Sen. Bernard Sanders (I) of Vermont
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2018: F- (carries or cosponsors gun-control legislation and reliably supports gun-control bills)
> 2023 popularity: 64% approve, 33% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2025

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Source: Andrew Burton / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Sen. Charles Schumer (D) of New York
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2022: F- (carries or cosponsors gun-control legislation and reliably supports gun-control bills)
> 2023 popularity: 53% approve, 36% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2029

Source: Scott Eisen / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) of New Hampshire
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2018: F- (carries or cosponsors gun-control legislation and reliably supports gun-control bills)
> 2023 popularity: 51% approve, 39% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2027

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Source: Stephen Maturen / Getty Images

Sen. Tina Smith (D) of Minnesota
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2020: F- (carries or cosponsors gun-control legislation and reliably supports gun-control bills)
> 2023 popularity: 45% approve, 33% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2027

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) of Michigan
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2018: F- (carries or cosponsors gun-control legislation and reliably supports gun-control bills)
> 2023 popularity: 46% approve, 36% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2025

Source: Photo by Scott Eisen / Getty Images

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) of Massachusetts
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2018: F- (carries or cosponsors gun-control legislation and reliably supports gun-control bills)
> 2023 popularity: 52% approve, 38% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2025

Source: Pool / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D) of Rhode Island
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2018: F- (carries or cosponsors gun-control legislation and reliably supports gun-control bills)
> 2023 popularity: 51% approve, 33% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2025

Source: Alex Wong / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Sen. Ron Wyden (D) of Oregon
> Gun Owners of America grade as of 2022: F- (carries or cosponsors gun-control legislation and reliably supports gun-control bills)
> 2023 popularity: 50% approve, 34% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2029

Methodology

To identify the U.S. senators with the strongest pro-gun control positions, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data compiled by Gun Owners of America, a nonprofit gun rights lobbying group. GOA uses legislative voting records to assign a letter grade to sitting U.S. senators on their gun control positions. In the case where senators do not have an extensive voting record, they are graded based on their responses to GOA survey questions. Grades range from A+, reserved for the most staunch gun-rights senators, to F-, assigned to senators with the strongest gun-control agendas. 

Only the 50 senators with a grade of F or F- appear on this list. The 50 senators on this list are split into two groups, starting with those who received a grade of F, and followed by those with an F-, and are listed alphabetically.   Each senator’s grade is for the most recent year of available data, between 2018 and 2022. 

Of all 100 sitting U.S. senators, four have not received a grade from GOA: Sen. Dan Sullivan (R) of Alaska, Sen. Cindy Clyde-Smith (R) of Mississippi, Sen. Pete Ricketts (R) of Nebraska, and Sen. J.D. Vance (R) of Ohio. 

We also reviewed supplementary data on each senator’s approval and disapproval rating from Morning Consult, a public opinion data research company. Approval and disapproval ratings are based on survey data from each senator’s state, collected in the first quarter of 2023. 

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