Nearly two weeks after the Connecticut school shootings, Americans still have mixed views on gun control — with a majority telling a USA Today-Gallup poll
that they support stronger laws but that they oppose banning assault weapons.
The president of the National Rifle Association, however, said he was not surprised by the results.
Fifty-eight percent of the 1,038 adults surveyed Dec. 19-22 now say they favor stricter gun laws, up from 43 percent in October 2011, USA Today reports.
But the nation, which favored enforcing existing gun laws over passing new ones by a 60-to-35 percent margin in 2011, now remains split on the issue. Forty-six percent favor enforcing current laws, while 47 percent want new ones.
On the issue of specific laws, however, banning assault weapons is not supported by those queried in the poll. Fifty-one percent said they were against it, compared with 44 percent, USA Today reports.
In October 2011, the results were virtually the same: 51 to 43 percent against.
The assault-weapons ban is heavily favored by President Barack Obama and other gun-control advocates. Congress banned assault weapons in 1994, but the directive lapsed in 2004.
NRA President David Keene told USA Today that he wasn't surprised by the rise in Americans backing stricter gun laws but showing ambivalence on the assault-weapons issue.
"I'm surprised it hasn't gone up more considering the unremitting attacks on firearms over the last week," Keene said.
The NRA last week called for the federal government to put armed guards in every school in the aftermath of the Dec. 14 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
Police said Adam Lanza, 20, shot and killed his mother at their home before heading to the school, where he fatally shot 26 people, including 20 first-graders, before killing himself.
The NRA has also rejected any calls for tougher gun laws.
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