A majority of Americans want stricter gun control, but oppose banning assault weapons, according to a USA Today/Gallup Poll.
Fifty-eight percent support increased gun control, up from 43 percent in October 2011. But, 51 percent of Americans oppose an assault-weapon ban, unchanged from last year's poll.
Forty-four percent support such a ban, up one percent from last year. President Barack Obama backs reinstatement of a ban that was in place from 1994-2004.
A total of 46 percent of those polled think better gun control can be accomplished by stricter enforcement of existing laws, while 47 percent think the country needs new laws. In 2011, 60 percent favored current laws and 35 percent wanted new ones.
Meanwhile, 74 percent of respondents oppose a broad ban on possessing handguns, the highest total since Gallup first asked the question in 1959. Only 24 percent support a ban.
A whopping 92 percent of Americans favor background checks for buyers at gun shows, and 62 percent back prohibition of high-capacity magazines, which can carry up to 30 rounds of ammunition.
The support for tighter gun control likely reflects a desire “to help prevent the kind of gun violence that became all too familiar in 2012,” writes Gallup’s Lydia Saad. But the opposition to banning assault rifles and handguns “possibly reflects Americans' desire to defend themselves, given the rash of high-profile gun violence,” she says.
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