Americans appear to be more pro-gun their ever before, according to a new Gallup poll finding that a record-low of only 26 percent of U.S. adults now favor a legal ban on the possession of handguns.
The Gallup survey of 1,005 adults Oct. 6-9 also found for the first time that more Americans are opposed to a ban on semiautomatic weapons or assault rifles than support it by a margin of 57 percent to 42 percent.
That’s a near reversal of what the numbers were when Gallup first posed the question in 1996. In that poll, 57 percent favored a ban on semiautomatic weapons and 42 percent were against.
At the same, the new survey also indicated that support for tougher gun laws has fallen off to the point that only 43 percent of Americans now favor making gun laws “more strict,” while 44 percent believe they should be left as they are now.
The finding differs substantially from a 2007 survey when Gallup found that a majority of those polled still favored stricter laws. That had also been the dominant view going back to 1990 when Gallup first asked the question.
Gallup researchers offered no explanation for the change in attitudes, except to note that Americans had clearly shifted “to a more pro-gun view” in recent years.
“This is the case even as high-profile incidents of gun violence continue in the United States, such as the January shootings at a meeting for U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona,” they said in a report on the poll findings.
The Second Amendment Foundation, a nonprofit group that lobbies on behalf of private gun owners, said in a statement that the new poll “demonstrates a positive change in the public attitude about personal protection.”
Second Amendment President Alan Gottlieb said the survey shows that Americans “have become increasingly aware that they are the true ‘first responders’ when a crime happens in their presence.”
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