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U.S. Support for Stricter Gun Laws Rises to 60 Percent

U.S. support for stricter regulations on firearm sales now stands at 60 percent (a 5-point increase from 2016), according to Gallup survey data released on Oct. 16.

This matches the support level from 2004 and continues a rising trend that began in 2014.

Those affirming the need for stricter laws on firearm sales saw an overall decline from a high of 78 percent in 1990 to a low of 43 percent in 2011.

Support jumped to 58 percent in 2013, following the Newtown, Connecticut, shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012, before declining again in 2014.

A series of violent incidents – beginning with the June 17, 2015, murder of nine worshippers at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina – has led to increasing support for stricter laws on firearm sales.

When asked about “a law banning the possession of handguns, except by the police and other authorized persons,” 28 percent of U.S. adults affirmed this position – a 5-point increase since 2016.

The largest increase of support was for “a law making it illegal to manufacture, sell or possess semi-automatic guns known as assault rifles,” rising 12 percentage points to 48 percent and reversing a downward trend since 2000.

“The frequency and magnitude of mass shootings have increased since 2000, yet support for stricter gun sale laws was higher and more consistent before then,” Gallup summarized. “Still, in the immediate aftermath of mass shootings in recent years, the public has leaned toward more regulation of weapons. This is once again the case.”

The full report is available here.