Americans Favor Automatic Weapons Ban, Wary Of ‘Gun Control’

WASHINGTON — Will the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and 20 others in Arizona turn public opinion in favor of tougher gun control measures? The evidence is mixed at best. While public opinion has generally turned against stri…

WASHINGTON — Will the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and 20 others in Arizona turn public opinion in favor of tougher gun control measures? The evidence is mixed at best. While public opinion has generally turned against stricter gun-control measures over the last twenty years, majorities continue to support greater restrictions on the sort of automatic weapon used in the Tucson shootings.

For the last 20 years, the Gallup organization has tracked whether Americans “feel that the laws covering the sale of firearms should be made more strict, less strict or kept as they are now.” As Gallup explained in a report last November, that support has declined gradually over the last two decades to the point that a “record low 44%” now support stricter gun laws, while a majority prefer laws that are kept as they are currently (42%) or made less strict (12%).

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