Poll: Support grows for stricter gun-control laws


Associated Press

NEW YORK

Support for tougher gun-control laws is soaring in the United States, according to a new poll that found a majority of gun owners and half of Republicans favor new laws to address gun violence in the weeks after a Florida school shooting left 17 dead and sparked nationwide protests.

The poll, conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, found that nearly 7 in 10 adults now favor stricter gun-control measures. That’s the strongest level of support since The Associated Press first asked the question five years ago. The new poll also found that nearly half of Americans do not expect elected officials to take action.

“It feels hopeless,” said 30-year-old Elizabeth Tageson-Bedwin, of Durham, N.C., a self-described Republican who teaches seventh-grade English.

“Considering recent events, gun control in this country needs to be stricter – and it can be without infringing on anyone’s rights,” she said.

Overall, 69 percent of Americans think gun laws in the United States should be made stricter. That’s up from 61 percent who said the same in October of 2016 and 55 percent when the AP first asked the question in October of 2013. Overall, 90 percent of Democrats, 54 percent of gun owners and 50 percent of Republicans now favor stricter gun-control laws.

Sixty percent believe that making it harder to legally obtain a gun would result in fewer mass shootings; just 49 percent said the same in the 2016 poll.

The new poll finds support for specific gun-control measures even among those who bristle at the term “gun control.”

More than 8 in 10 Americans favor a federal law preventing mentally ill people from purchasing guns, along with a federal law expanding background check requirements to include gun shows and private sales.

Nearly 8 in 10 favor allowing courts to prevent people from owning guns if considered a danger to themselves or others, even if they have not been convicted of a crime. And 7 in 10 favor a nationwide ban on devices known as “bump stocks” that allow semi-automatic guns to function like automatic guns.

Nearly 6 in 10 favor a nationwide ban on AR-15-style rifles.

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