Most Americans want stricter gun sales laws, like handguns

Gallup Graph

(Graph: Gallup)

More than half of Americans said they want stricter laws regulating gun sales, according to a survey released by Gallup on Monday.

Fifty-five percent to be exact want stricter laws — that’s a rise of 8 percentage points from 2014 — whereas 33 percent said laws regulating how guns are sold should remain the same.

The Gallup Crime poll was conducted on Oct. 7-11, just days after the mass shooting at an Oregon community college in which 10 people were killed. However, that event seemed to have only affected views about laws on gun sales and not other topics related to guns, Gallup said.

Historically, opinions on guns fluctuate following horrific incidents along with a spike in firearm sales in the locale — the latter, however, is often attributed to fear of a repeat incident (read about it here, here, here).

(Graph: Gallup)

(Graph: Gallup)

Comparatively, following the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech, the percentage of Americans favoring stricter laws on gun sales was a bare majority at 51 percent. Such support remained under 50 percent until the Sandy Hook massacre in December 2012. Following that horror, 58 percent of Americans favored stricter laws on gun sales.

According to the recent poll, 36 percent of gun owners and 64 percent of those who do not own guns agree on stricter gun laws regarding sales. Also, 27 percent of those who identified as Republicans, 56 percent of Independents, and 77 percent of Democrats agreed wanting stricter laws regulating gun sales.

The majority, 72 percent, of those polled said there should not be a ban on handgun possession. However, the majority of Americans — well above 50 percent — have felt that way since the early 1970s.

(Graph: Gallup)

(Graph: Gallup)

For the results, Gallup polled 1,015 Americans older than 18 years of age and from all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Interviews were conducted over the phone.

In August, a survey by Pew Research found public opinion for expanding background checks changed slightly since Congress failed to advance the measure two years ago. Pew found 85 percent of Americans favor expanding background checks for gun sales, which had 81 percent support when it was a bill in the U.S. Senate in 2013.

In June, Rasmussen Reports found that Americans prefer to live in neighborhoods where they can legally own guns over those areas they can’t. Some 68 percent said they felt safer in those areas of lawful gun ownership and 10 percent were undecided on the issue.

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