Gallup poll: Number of Americans supporting gun control reaches new low

A recent Gallup survey has found a new low of 44% of Americans saying the laws covering firearm sales should be made more strict. The findings mark a 5 point drop in the last year, and a 34 point drop from the high of 78% recorded the first time the question was asked, in 1990.

From the story:

Today, Americans are as likely to say the laws governing gun sales should be kept as they are now (43%) as to say they should be made more strict. Until this year, Gallup had always found a significantly higher percentage advocating stricter laws. At the same time, 12% of Americans believe the laws should be less strict, which is low in an absolute sense but ties the highest Gallup has measured for this response.

These results are based on Gallup's annual Crime Poll, conducted Oct.1-4 this year.

The poll also shows a new low in the percentage of Americans favoring a ban on handgun possession except by the police and other authorized persons, a question that dates back to 1959. Only 28% now favor such a ban. The high point in support for a handgun-possession ban was 60% in the initial measurement in 1959. Since then, less than a majority has been in favor, and support has been below 40% since December 1993.

While the trends indicate that Americans' attitudes have moved toward being more pro-gun rights, the poll results show this is not due to a growth in personal gun ownership (holding steady at around 30% this decade), or to an increase in household gun ownership (in the low 40% range since 2000).

Rather, the Gallup website says, Americans as a whole may just be more accepting of gun rights now than in the past.

Americans continue to trend toward holding attitudes that are more in favor of gun rights, and Gallup today finds new low points in favor of gun control on two separate measures dating back at least two decades. While solidly against a ban on handgun possession, Americans are nonetheless about equally likely to say they favor stricter laws on firearm sales as to say these laws should not change. Still, the current poll marks the first time Gallup has not found a significantly higher proportion of Americans preferring tighter gun-sale regulations.

See the results from this and other gun polls over the years at

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